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Exploring Intercultural Shakespeare Production for a 21st Century Malawian Audience

Bonsall, Amy Clare (2017) Exploring Intercultural Shakespeare Production for a 21st Century Malawian Audience. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Bonsall_AC_English_PhD_2017.pdf - Final eThesis - complete (pdf)
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Romio ndi Julieti DVD 1.mp4 - Final eThesis - complete (pdf)
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Romio ndi Julieti DVD2.mp4 - Final eThesis - complete (pdf)
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Abstract

This study explores the processes undertaken to make an intercultural production of Shakespeare’s 'Romeo and Juliet' meaningful for a contemporary Malawian audience. I consider the notions of global, universal, intercultural and postcolonial Shakespeare, and through the examination of 'Rei Lear' (Cape Verde, 2003), 'Ìtàn Ògìnìntìn' (Nigeria, 2012) and 'Toufann' (Mauritius, 1999) I demonstrate how the influences of colonialism, language politics and education created a complex matrix of factors that have affected the development of drama and Shakespeare in production in various African nations. This analysis created a framework for how a translation and production of 'Romeo and Juliet' could be researched and realised through theatrical practice. Examination of the genesis and development of Shakespeare in production in Malawi, using surveys, interviews, scholarly articles and archival research, situated where my production fitted within the country’s contemporary theatre landscape. Practical workshops aided my investigations as to how the translated script could be meaningfully realised by Malawian performers and how the play could be relocated to Malawi. I engaged in a three-week rehearsal period where students from Mzuzu University produced a full production of the play. 'Romio ndi Julieti' was performed in three public venues: Luwinga Secondary School, Mzuzu University and Chingalire village. DVDs of workshop/rehearsal excerpts and the final production of Romio ndi Julieti at Chingalire village (9 April 2016) form part of this practice-led research thesis. Among the findings of this study I have shown that translating 'Romeo and Juliet' into a vernacular language and using contemporary Malawian performance styles meant that the production had a greater impact on both the performers and the audience than if it had been performed in English. Working in Chichewa freed the actors, some performing in the language for the first time, to showcase Malawian performance forms, including physical comedy and dance, within the parameters of an ‘elitist’ production. My observations and survey and interview feedback showed that this intercultural theatre encounter had a positive impact on both performers and audience.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Intercultural Theatre, Malawian Theatre, Malawian Performance, Intercultural Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Malawian Shakespeare
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of English (Leeds)
Depositing User: Amy Clare Bonsall
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2017 13:02
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 11:35
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18707

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