Library Dissertation Showcase

The theatre of societal transformation: a case study on the role of Intercultural Applied Theatre in building community awareness, with specific reference to the Maralinga Test victims

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2019

This dissertation will examine how ‘Applied Theatre’ or ‘Community-based Theatre’ (both defined in Chapter One) projects are intercultural and how the intercultural aspect to these performances assist in the effectiveness of building rehabilitation and relief to those communities affected by war. For this dissertation, I will conduct an analysis of two Applied Theatre projects, Maralinga (2006) and Ngapartji Ngapartji (2005-10). Both projects engage with communities affected by the nuclear weapon tests conducted in Australia in the years 1952-67, in which 30,000 British and Australian soldiers “were exposed to nuclear fallout without any thought for the consequences” (Arvanitakis, cited in Thompson, Hughes and Balfour, 2009, 272). Additionally, the local indigenous people were given “callous and dictatorial treatment” and “it was clear that the impact of the tests on the Aboriginal people who lived on and owned the lands used for testing was not a high priority for those in charge” (Cleveland, 2008, 216). Both of these communities, the soldiers and the Aborigines, have participated in Applied Theatre projects that have attempted to assist in rehabilitation, empowerment and reconciliation between both groups of victims. Both pieces have done this through a means of educating the audience. Before the case study and analysis of these projects (Chapter Two), I will provide a literature review to evidence the major theories, debates and methodologies concerning the use of theatre for social, cultural and political change. The concluding chapter (Chapter Three) questions and considers some of the challenges and successes of these projects, and therefore how theatre can be enabled to bring communities together to assist in the creation of a more equal society where cultures are not seen as superior or inferior to one another.

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