Imagining with others: the transformative process of the Royal Court Theatre’s international department

O'Thomas, Mark and Aston, Elaine (2012) Imagining with others: the transformative process of the Royal Court Theatre’s international department. In: Performing Tangier: Performing Transformations, 1-4 June 2012, Tangiers, Morocco.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


This joint paper draws on the work of the international wing of the UK’s Royal Court Theatre, explores the theatre’s process of working across national borders, in order to think critically and theoretically about that process as potentially transformative in respect to possibilities of politicising. We begin with a brief contextualisation of the Court’s international vision, its aspirations to find and form partnerships in different parts of the world, in turn identifying a commitment to an idea of a theatre culture that eschews an ‘island mentality’ in favour of imagining worlds with, rather than without, ‘others’. Thereafter, we move to elaborate on the creative processes that underpin this vision, attending in particular to the democratic aspirations (and difficulties) encountered through a developmental writing process that requires different kinds of experts or expertise. We consolidate these observations with reflections on a current project of the Court that attempts to bring together playwrights from three different nations in the making process. This is with a view to, on the one hand, underline the need for creative encounters that allow for an exploration of what participants might have in common (rather than a presumption of what is held in common), and, on the other, to reflect on how the practicalities of this process also make visible the inequalities (whether social, cultural, economic, etc.) at large that need to be negotiated. In concluding, we draw together our reflections to argue for the potentially transformative power of this creative process ‘in making’ connections across artistic and national boundaries; to lay claim to process as crucial in respect how theatre, as practiced in this international framework, might be thought about as ‘acting’ politically.

Keywords:translation, theatre, royal court theatre
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:5769
Deposited On:01 Jun 2012 12:59

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