Diversity, Inclusion, and Representation in Contemporary Dramaturgy : Case Studies from the Field book cover
1st Edition

Diversity, Inclusion, and Representation in Contemporary Dramaturgy
Case Studies from the Field

Edited By

Philippa Kelly

ISBN 9781138334458
Published April 7, 2020 by Routledge
156 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Diversity, Inclusion, and Representation in Contemporary Dramaturgy offers fresh perspectives on how dramaturgs can support a production beyond rigid disciplinary expectations about what information and ideas are useful and how they should be shared.

The sixteen contributors to this volume offer personal windows into dramaturgy practice, encouraging theater practitioners, students, and general theater-lovers to imagine themselves as dramaturgs newly inspired by the encounters and enquiries that are the juice of contemporary theater. Each case study is written by a dramaturg whose body of work explores important issues of race, cultural equity, and culturally-specific practices within a wide range of conventions, venues, and communities. The contributors demonstrate the unique capacity of their craft to straddle the ravine between stage and stalls, intention and impact.

By unpacking, in the most up-to-date ways, the central question of “Why this play, at this time, for this audience?,” this collection provides valuable insights and dramaturgy tools for scholars and students of Dramaturgy, Directing, and Theater Studies.

Table of Contents

Preface: Philippa Kelly; Acknowledgements: Philippa Kelly and Amrita Ramanan; Introduction: Philippa Kelly: Dramaturgy in Motion; Section one: permission to speak; 1 Faedra Chatard Carpenter: Deconstructing Our Perspectives on Casting: An "Inter-Article" with Hana S. Sharif; 2 Scott Horstein: Dramaturgy as Prophecy: Facing Our Truth and Dramaturging the Predominantly White Institution; 3 Awele Makeba: the dramaturgy of the classroom; Section two: taking up positions – playwright/dramaturg; 4 Martine Kei Green-Rogers: The Dramaturgy of Black Culture: The Court Theatre's Productions of August Wilson's Century Cycle; 5 Izumi Ashizawa, with Ajuawak Kapashesit embodied dramaturgy: the development of the indigenous play, the patron saint of the lost children.; 6 Finn Lefevre: The Name (isn’t a) Game: New Explorations in Trans Applied Theatre; 7 Julie Felise Dubiner: Translation and Form; Section three: who’s "at the table"?; 8 Jonathan Meth: crossing the line; 9 Tim Collingwood: depth perception: re-thinking social roles, staging aspergers from the inside.; 10 Annalisa Dias: Decolonizing Equity and Inclusion – Strategies for Resisting White Supremacy.; 11 Mei Ann Teo: dramaturging revolution: diana Oh’s {my lingerie play} 2017: the concert and call to arms!!!!!!!!! the final installation.; Section four: cultural landscapes, past, present and future.; 12 Walter Byongsok Chon: The stakes of expanding a cultural landscape: dramaturging, adapting and performing Gao Xingjian’s The Other Shore; 13 Michael M. Chemers: VISIT TO A ZOOT PLANET: USC SUITS UP IN 2017; 14 Mark Bly: the dramaturgical impulse: or how big is your universe?; 15 Philippa Kelly: epilogue; Authors’ Biographical details and contact information

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Series Editor(s)


Philippa Kelly is Resident Dramaturg for the California Shakespeare Theater; Professor and Chair of English at the California Jazz Conservatory; Adjunct Professor at the University of California, Berkeley; and Visiting Senior Fellow at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Amrita Ramanan is the Director of Literary Development and Dramaturgy at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and a Board Member for the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas. She was previously an Artistic Associate and Literary Manager at Arena Stage for five seasons.


"This remarkable collection of case studies sheds light on one of the least understood and yet crucially important aspects of contemporary theater practice: the role of the dramaturg. By turns, innovator, instigator, cultural historian, interpreter, provocateur, and visionary, the dramaturg shapes the lived experience of actors and audiences alike. In an illuminating introduction and a moving epilogue, Philippa Kelly shows that the diverse and distinctive voices assembled here are agents of radical change in the theater and in the world beyond its boundaries."

Stephen Greenblatt, author of Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

"This exploration of the multi-faceted craft of dramaturgy challenges readers, educators and theatre makers to do more – much more – to make theatre genuinely, intentionally and seriously inclusive. Always grounded in the pragmatics of theatre practice, this collection is much needed, a treasure house of ideas, debates and daring, expertly curated and illuminatingly introduced by Philippa Kelly."

Elizabeth Schafer, Professor of Drama, Dance, and Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London

"Philippa Kelly has been doing pioneering work in dramaturgy for many years. In this collection of remarkably intimate essays she gathers a community of likeminded practitioners, each committed to enhancing the truth and urgency of contemporary theatre. For Kelly and her peers, the dramaturg does far more than serve playtext, director, and cast. The dramaturg sounds the pulse of the collective moment, what Hamlet calls its 'form and pressure'. The attention thereby entailed must always be scrupulously local, alert to each exchange's multifarious particulars; nothing is achieved, nothing is changed, by rehearsing generalities or by iterative obedience. Theatre is no more and no less than the weathervane of democracy, attuned to its weather like no other medium. Listen to these voices, and the future is in good hands."

Simon Palfrey, Professor, Brasenose College, University of Oxford