1st Edition

Rapa Nui Theatre Staging Indigenous Identities in Easter Island

By Moira Fortin Cornejo Copyright 2023
    226 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    226 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the relationships between theatrical representations and socio-political aspects of Rapa Nui culture from pre-colonial times to the present.

    This is the first book written about the production of Rapa Nui theatre, which is understood as a unique and culturally distinct performance tradition. Using a multilingual approach, this book journeys through Oceania, reclaiming a sense of connection and reflecting on synergies between performances of Oceanic cultures beyond imagined national boundaries. The author argues for a holistic and inclusive understanding of Rapa Nui theatre as encompassing and being inspired by diverse aspects of Rapa Nui performance cultures, festivals, and art forms.

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of Indigenous studies, Pacific Island studies, performance, anthropology, theatre education and Rapa Nui community, especially schoolchildren from the island who are learning about their own heritage.


    List of Figures

    Glossary Cultural Terms

    Preface by David O’Donnell


    Act One: Rapa Nui Theatre and the Oceanic Context

    SCENE I: Storytelling and the transmission of knowledge through the performing arts.

    SCENE II: The Conceptualization of Theatre in the Pacific and its impact envisaging contemporary theatre practices.

    SCENE III: Exploring the construction of the ‘traditional’ and the contemporary: Implications and Consequences for cultural Creativity.

    Act Two: Navigating an Ongoing Colonial Relationship Between Rapa Nui and Chile and its Implications to the Rapa Nui Performing Arts

    SCENE I: Rapa Nui, Social Change, and the ongoing impacts of Encounters with European Explores

    SCENE II: Isla de Pascua, a Chilean Colony in the Pacific

    SCENE III: The Modernisation of Rapa Nui and Influences on Rapa Nui Performing Arts

    Act Three: ‘A ‘Amu Tuai, the Production of Rapa Nui Theatre

    SCENE I: The Significance of Ceremonial Performances in the Emergence of Rapa Nui Theatre.

    SCENE II: ‘A’amu Tuai – the indigenous form of Rapa Nui theatre.

    SCENE III: Koro - The spark igniting the production of Rapa Nui theatre.

    SCENE IV: Miro O‘one: performing the other from an indigenous perspective.

    SCENE V: Tapati Rapa Nui, the ultimate venue for the expression, performance and re-creation of Rapa Nui indigenous identity.

    SCENE VI: Mahana O Te Re‘o and Ka Taŋi te Ako – celebrating and revitalising the Rapa Nui language through performance.

    SCENE VII: The first theatre company of Rapa Nui - Mata Tu‘u Hotu Iti.

    SCENE VIII: Artistic Expressions used in the Production of Rapa Nui Theatre.

    SCENE IX: The Formalisation of Rapa Nui Theatre.

    SCENE X: Theatrical Performances Beyond Tapati Rapa Nui – Theatre in the Community.





    Note on Contributor

    Tui Nicola Clery

    Independent Researcher



    Tui holds a PhD in Pacific Studies and Social Anthropology; she is interested on the intersections between Pacific epistemologies and the arts as creative pathways for peace.



    Moira Fortin Cornejo is a Ph.D. in Theatre Studies, Victoria University of Wellington.