The Rebellious Mirror,Before and after 1984:Community-based theatre in Aotearoa
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
In this thesis I outline the contribution Community-based theatre has made to New Zealand theatre. This involves a defining of theatre production as a material practice. Community-based theatre was a tendency from the 1930s, a promise of the left theatre movement and, I argue, was being searched for as a form of practice by the avant-garde, experimental practitioners of the 1970s. At the same time, early Māori theatre began as a Community-based practice before moving into the mainstream. With the arrival of neo-liberalism to Aotearoa in 1984, community groups and Community-based theatre could become official providers within the political system. This led to a flowering of practices, which I describe, together with the tensions that arise from being a part of that system. However, neo-liberalism introduced managerial practices into state contracting and patronage policy, which effectively denied this flowering the sustenance deserved. At the same time, these policies commodified mainstream theatre production. In conclusion, I argue that in the current situation of global crisis, Community-based theatre practice has a continuing role to play in giving voice to the multitude and by being a practice of the Common.
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