Masterclass Series

Held in UK 20 January 2015.

Intracultural is a word coined by the academic and practitioner Rustom Bharucha and he coined this word for himself as a critical shorthand to differentiate intercultural relations across national boundaries, and the intracultural dynamics between and across specific communities and regions within the boundaries of a the nation state.

I align myself most closely to Bharucha but what was the key impetus for me to develop my own practice in the intracultural sphere?

Over time I have observed that actor training and rehearsal room practice often fails to recognise or engage with the cultural identity of the actor.  This means that actors from  diasporic heritage backgrounds are often asked to work within a culture and set of values that is not their own. In these instances, I have seen actors often without realising it hiding their true selves and therefore not being able to find the door to their unique creativity. In my own work I have witnessed that the artistic power of a performer so often resides in one’s cultural context and I am currently writing a thesis  for my masters which is predicated on research by practice creating a rehearsal praxis which enables the actor to utilise his or her cultural context in the process of creating character, in the form of text based realism and other applications.  I believe it is only through truly embracing and working with the myriad of fluid and evolving cultural identities that we have in our rehearsal rooms, that we can hope to develop a theatre that is consistently representative of 21st century society. As practitioners if we do not understand how to work with the many different cultural backgrounds that make up our society, theatre is in danger of remaining elitist and discriminatory in its practices.

Bharucha says“to play with the uncertainty of the intracultural exchange” is what is required when working intraculturally. In my artistic practice I ‘play with difference’ in the rehearsal room, rather than ignore it.  It is a multi lingual practice and I try not to install a ‘standard’ version of the dominant language as the norm, as this can have the tendency to marginalize‘variants’ from that norm as impurities.

In employing this ‘culture play’ in my rehearsal room, I have witnessed actors finding it easy to explore improvisation and text work when working through their own cultural context, whether that is with a family language or accent or simply physiologically thinking as themselves as particular rather than neutral. 

In my work with actors I have always taken a direct approach in relation to culture in performance. I aim to help actors make the bridge between their own identity and the world with which they are engaging. The cultural theorist Raymond Williamsdescribes culture as “the deep personal meanings… the special processes of discovery and creative effort… the way in which people write themselves into the land.” It is this “writing oneself into the land’” through personal meaning, discovery and creative effort that underpins my work with actors in performance. Each and every actor must feel free to share and explore his or her cultural context and  deep meanings.  It is only then that as artists can they truly fly.

Participant Feedback:

"It is absolutely different from any workshop I have participated in as there is a focus primarily on the artists as a person, which is so helpful."
"Absolutely loved Kristine’s approach. It seems abundantly clear that the intracultural practice is crucial to our rehearsal process, not only when rehearsing for a play, but in classrooms, drama schools, other educational settings. Totally changes the culture of the room!"
"This was an amazingly beautiful and useful approach, to be able to see the actual way of Kristine’s work with the actors, not a description or simulation where we would work with her as the actors but her actual work. A priceless opportunity – thank you!"
"Kristine’s workshop was utterly inspiring. She articulated and practiced what I’ve always known to be true but, until now, had been unable to express. I feel totally validated and can’t wait to facilitate people being exactly who they are on stage."