Children’s theatre in the UK: representing cultural diversity on stage through the practices of interculturalism, multiculturalism and internationalism

Schuitema, K. 2012. Children’s theatre in the UK: representing cultural diversity on stage through the practices of interculturalism, multiculturalism and internationalism. PhD thesis University of Westminster School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages

TitleChildren’s theatre in the UK: representing cultural diversity on stage through the practices of interculturalism, multiculturalism and internationalism
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsSchuitema, K.
Abstract

The UK is a diverse society. It has had a colonial past and is now part of an

interconnected global world. Past and present immigration have continuously shaped

and re-shaped the ethnical, racial and cultural made up of its people. Children’s

theatre can be understood as a theatrical dialogue between the adult practitioner and

the child as an audience member that takes place at a specific time and place, while

set in a wider social historical context. As such, it is important to understand how this

diversity, found within the society, is represented on stage and how it informs this

theatrical communication between adult and child. This thesis will therefore focus on

the related practices of interculturalism, multiculturalism and internationalism, to discuss the importance but also the problems associated with representing cultural

diversity. It will specifically focus on interculturalism which, in short, attempts to

stage the interaction between multiple cultural influences. Understanding children’s

theatre as a dialogue, this practice is particularly interesting as the cultural interaction

between the representation on stage and the cultural background of the young

audience members should also be considered. The central argument of this thesis is

that intercultural productions can acknowledge and contribute to the cultural diversity

found in the UK and offer children and young people from a range of different

backgrounds, cultural representation and an opportunity to feel included in what is

presented on stage. This in turn counters the desire to construct national identities as

homogeneous, authentic and superior, excluding the cultural ‘other’ not just from the theatrical experience but denying access and participation in the ‘nation’s culture’.

The thesis will discuss the problems associated with interculturalism, as staging the

3 ‘other’ culture might risk stereotypical and exotic representations as well as cultural appropriation and exploitation to underline creative processes. It will also take into

account the increasingly negative perception of the terms ‘multiculturalism’ and

‘globalisation’ that generally inhibits the attempts of representing cultural diversity on

stage. Overall, this research highlights the difficulties of cultural representation on the

stage, but also focuses on the reasons and benefits of creating theatrical productions

that more accurately represents the UK’s ‘globalised’ and ‘diverse’ society.

Year2012
FileKarian_SCHUITEMA.pdf
Publication dates
Completed2012

Related outputs

No related outputs available.

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