Research Repository

Theatre. Conflict. Change.

Lax, Annecy and Kuti, Elizabeth (2018) Theatre. Conflict. Change. University of Essex, University of Essex.

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This website documents the research activities and outcomes of the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project ‘Tales of Winter and Spring: Gender, Histories and Intergenerational Exchange in Global Theatre’ led by Elizabeth Kuti and Annecy Lax, both Senior Lecturers in Drama, at the University of Essex. Through dramaturgy, playwriting, desk-based research and creative collaboration, our project pursued the following questions: How are women theatre-makers giving voice to untold personal and national stories in sites of conflict around the world? What can we learn from the work of these women theatre-makers about the role of the creative arts in fragile communities in post-conflict or post-colonial situations? In what other ways do playwriting and theatre practice contribute to the translation or understanding of cultures, across generational, linguistic and national borders? Artists involved in the ‘Tales of Spring and Winter’ research project work in the UK and also in regions and countries on the OECD DAC list: specifically Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Palestine, Serbia, Sri Lanka and India. We held a week-long residency with the artists at the University of Essex (June 19-23 2017), during which we filmed, interviewed, workshopped, talked, performed, discussed and devised together. We created two new pieces of work: Dear Children, Sincerely . . and a new play, Cold Season in Calcutta. These were both performed as part of a public Performance and Symposium Day at the Mercury Theatre (June 24, 2017) where academics, practitioners and the general public met and mingled in a day of talks, panels and performances. Films of these activities can all be found throughout the pages of this website. The central unifying theme of the different research strands and activities housed within Tales of Spring and Winter is dialogue between the generations, in the broadest sense: encounters between old and young; transitions from past to present; historical regeneration and renewal; the return of spring after winter. Our aim is to find out what underlying and particular qualities, or indeed problems, women theatre-makers share - whether as directors, playwrights, performers or policy-shapers – in conflict-torn communities across the globe. The goal of this website is to make the research processes and outcomes of the research project accessible to all. It’s also our goal to make the work of women theatre practitioners more visible to the world, now and in the future; to further and support their work through networking, facilitating communication, sharing practice – and especially by paying critical attention to their endeavours and achievements.

Item Type: Other
Additional Information: ‘Tales of Spring and Winter’ was structured around the creation of two new original performance-pieces: Dear Children, Sincerely. . . and Cold Season in Calcutta, both of which we developed through an intensive week’s residency with all the participating artists at the University of Essex, June 19-23rd 2017. This was followed by a public Performance and Symposium Day at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, Saturday June 24th, 2017. During the residency at the University of Essex, we worked with the members of the global network Ariadne, convened and led by theatre director Susannah Tresilian from the UK: Hope Azeda of Rwanda; Ruwanthie de Chickera from Sri Lanka; Frederique Lecomte from Burundi and D.R. Congo; Iman Aoun in Palestine; Dijana Milosevic in Serbia. These directors brought with them mentees and collaborators to be part of the project and extend the legacy of the work: Ivana Milenovic Popovic, Ewout D’Hoore, Yasmin Shlalda, Piumi Wijesundara. We also invited students from the University of Essex LINK TO A PAGE WITH STUDENT VIDEOS ON to take part in the residency, alongside some members of the Mercury Theatre’s community groups, who gamely became super-heroes in Frederique Lecomte’s anarchic and visionary offering that concluded the symposium day. We asked all the Ariadne members and participants to collaborate as directors or performers on a new incarnation of Dear Children, Sincerely. . . This project was originally conceived by Ruwanthie de Chickera and first premiered in Sri Lanka by her company Stages Theatre Group, where Sri Lankans born in the 1930s were interviewed about the seismic social and political changes they had seen during their lifetimes. As part of our project in 2017, we asked for new material and new approaches from all the directors and theatre-makers involved, to create pieces which simply took the core idea of conversations between the generations – to make the cluster of performances you can see here, premiered at the Mercury Theatre in June 2017. As a way of understanding better the artistic methods and goals of the theatre-makers in the Ariadne group, Annecy Lax (University of Essex) collaborated with director and Ariadne founder, Susannah Tresilian, in the making of a new testimonial piece from elders during the five-day residency. In a very different dramaturgical thread of the project, Elizabeth Kuti, in collaboration with theatre director Trilby James and actor Shelley King, wrote a new play, Cold Season in Calcutta, LINK TO COLD SEASON PERF inspired by Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. In a very different approach to our research questions about the role of theatre in articulating national identity and postcolonial conflict, this new play explored Anglo-Indian relations in the 18th century, through a story inspired by founding of the playhouse in Calcutta in 1775, the imperial transportation of Shakespeare into India, and the intertwining of Indian and English histories. This was given a rehearsed reading at the Performance and Symposium day at the mercury on June 24th 2017.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Theatre; Conflict studies; performance; drama; peace building; gender
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2019 10:59
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2022 14:33

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