Journeys into A Third Space: A study of how theatre enables us to interpret the emergent space between cultures

Janinka Greenwood, University, My, John O'Toole
When two cultures meet within one national identity, their interaction invites accommodations, contestations and transformations of consciousness. Bhabha (1990) calls this dynamic and evolving interaction 'the third space'. This thesis explores the role of theatre as an agent of understanding that emergent space. I argue that theatre, in a range of forms, not only offers a distinctive tool for analysis but also is a means of strategically changing the society we live in. The study is based on
more » ... w Zealand experience and focuses on interaction between Maori and Pakeha cultures, that is on the interaction between the indigenous culture and that of the colonial and immigrant settlers. As such it differs from discourses that stress multiculturalism or universal humanism. Three distinct sightings are taken on the role of theatre in this process. The first is an examination of a significant educational arts project, Te Mauri Pakeaka, that took place in the 70s and 80s. The second is a mapping of the history of such theatre as addresses Maori and Pakeha relations. The third is a report of a workshop I conducted with teacher trainees in Panguru, a remote Maori community. Te Mauri Pakeaka involved schools, educational administrators, community, artists and elders in an exploration of Maori culture and of bicultural possibilities, using art making as a catalyst. The history of New Zealand bicultural theatre begins with the epic extravaganzas of the late nineteenth century and explores successive changes in perspective and in participation through the twentieth century. Current issues are examined through interviews with a group of significant contemporary artists. The workshop in Panguru was designed to introduce teachers in training to drama. A significant proportion of its context involved study of the Treaty of Waitangi through drama. Considerations of ritual, social drama and of performative enactment in the public arena emerged as important to all three investigations. The conceptual framework that underpins this study [...]
doi:10.25904/1912/2262 fatcat:zios4w3mpffcjlz2xd2nnugzdm