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Alkazi Theatre Archives

A Bibliographic Listing from the Archive

Theatre Matters: Performance and Culture on the World Stage

Book: Theatre Matters: Performance and Culture on the World Stage
Edited by: Jane Plastow, Richard Boon
Published by: Cambridge University Press, 1998

The book ‘Theatre Matters: Performance and Culture on the World Stage’ originated as a tribute to Martin Banham, who retired in 1998 as Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at the University of Leeds. In countries like Nigeria, South Africa and India, theatre productions, companies, playwrights have played a significant role in confronting the government and the ruling class in debates about social and political reform. The severity of state responses, such as censorship, imprisonment, and even violence highlights the high stakes involved in using theatre as a tool for challenging the state.

The book commences with a foreword from Wole Soyinka and is divided into 10 chapters. In the second chapter, Femi Osofisan delves into poetics with an extensive essay titled ‘The Revolution as Muse: Drama as Surreptitious Insurrection in a Postcolonial, Military State.’ Ian Steadman tackles the issue of race in South Africa, Jatinder Varma explores the intersection of Asian theatre and England, and Innes delves into the theme of colonialism within the context of Canadian and Caribbean Drama. Paul Heritage explores theatre in Brazil and Augusto Boals’ theatre in relation to the ‘favela’—slums in the country, and George Woodyard examines the work of individual playwrights over the course of their entire careers, noting how it shifts, adapts, and re-positions itself in response to changing national contexts with respect to Argentina in the last two chapters of the book.

“Theatre’s best chance of having an impact is not, I would argue, in the literary text, but in the live performance which is, after all, what makes theatre different and not simply a form of literary aberration” (Jane Plastow, p.4)

Theatre Matters- Performance and Culture on the World Stage