Intersections of Postcolonial Female Subjectivities: A study of Post-Apartheid South African Women Playwrights and Staging their Voices for Contemporary Anglophone Hong Kong Theatre

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

This project stages a jointly arranged performance to premiere in Hong Kong (HK) to reframe the subjectivities of black, “non-black,” and queer contemporary anglophone South African women playwrights. It studies how those subjectivities contest geographical and cultural boundaries and intersect with HK theatrical spaces. When apartheid ended in 1994, South Africa (SA) no longer had a black-versus-white dichotomy; but to this day SA theatre remains an important form for self- representation and empowerment of women. However, despite its multiracial and ethnic contexts, SA theatrical spaces are unusefully compartmentalised into realms of black, “non-black,” and queer. The current approach is no longer effective in today’s SA: where racial, ethnic, and cultural tensions remain unstable (e.g. the social unrest in SA in 2021). Yet few have examined how these distinct realms of analysis may be mutually determining. This dynamic, which converges and diverges within female consciousness in postcolonial SA theatre, is what this project is interested in. It seeks to rebut the current framework and unfolds: (i) How female consciousnesses (black, non-black, and queer) are juxtaposed in the postcolonial theatrical space of South Africa? (ii) How do they contest with each other via new forms of performance? (iii) How does theatre contribute to forming a constituency of pluralised and contested female identities among playwrights, actresses, and audiences? The project also examines how these female subjectivities are translated into the theatrical space of Hong Kong with practice-as- research methods. Both SA and HK were released from colonial sovereignty and its legacy in the 1990s. The two places also witnessed the empowering of women through theatre in the 1970s and 1980s. By holding a pilot “South African Theatre Festival,” the project invites playwrights from SA to collaborate with local directors in HK and brings HK audiences to the forefront of synthesising postcolonial female subjectivities. In the process, the project probes the interactions among SA playwrights, HK theatrical practitioners, and audiences to excavate: (iv) What women’s subjectivities are being adapted and why? (v) What is the impact of inviting both SA and HK practitioners to perform before a local audience on reshaping their understanding of postcolonial female identities? This project is ground-breaking in staging a collaborative theatrical performance to premiere in Hong Kong in nuancing the intersectional framework of postcolonial female consciousness in SA and HK. It is a timely project that pluralises literature and the theatre and retheorises the intersections of postcolonial women’s subjectivities.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/01/2330/06/24

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