TAPRA Interim Event - Asian Performance and Diaspora Group: Locating Practice In Research

Friday, 2nd June 2017

University of East London

Friday 2 June 10.30 – 4.00 p.m.

The aim of the working group was to research, promote and disseminate contemporary Asian performance and diaspora studies to highlight the historical and contemporary scholarship in the area. We also aimed to encourage critical debates on the contemporary artistic practices of Asia and a thorough re-evaluation of the current understanding of its conceptual and practical paradigms of the Asian performance scene and its diaspora in Britain.

  • To offer a dedicated platform for presenting Asian performance and diaspora research
  • To reflect, critique and debate Asian performance activities in Britain
  • To foster better dialogue between the academic work and performance practice in the field.

Kristine Landom Smith Lecture subject:

“Intracultural Approaches to Performance”

My paper shares my research on intracultural actor training.  It is research by practice with the aim of creating a rehearsal praxis, which can utilise the cultural context of the performer in the production of text based realism and other applications. It is my contention that many training environments and rehearsal rooms ignore and disavow rather than engage with the cultural context of the actor. The remit of my practice as research is to examine the causes and impact of this phenomenon and to offer a methodology that addresses this issue and actively plays with culture as a key tool in actor training and rehearsal room practices. I started articulating this methodology during my time as Co-Artistic Director of Tamasha Theatre Company when I saw actors of Asian heritage hiding their cultural contexts in favour of “mimicking the centre”. My methodology speaks to the multiracial society that Denzin imagines and ventures to realise this by giving practitioners the tools to perform a multiracial dynamic, where differences are acknowledged and utilised and are key to crafting work for performance. As such it can be seen as an intervention that seeks to break through “sedimented meanings and normative traditions” (Conquergood 1998, 32) and my paper examines the traditions I break with in order to apply intracultural practice in the realisation of work for performance.