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- PublicationOpen AccessNegotiating difference in Krishen Jit’s theatre: Staging identities and contesting boundaries in multicultural Malaysia(2012)The politics of difference in a multicultural society such as Malaysia is an area of increasing interest in an environment of global anxieties about the "clash of civilisations" (Huntington) and the "flows of culture" (Appadurai). As the lines of race, religion, language and gender become more prescribed by the "authorities" of state and media, they are also diversely contested by those who do not fit or who choose to resist these narrow defines and limiting dictates. Krishen Jit, doyen of Malaysian theatre, dealt with issues of difference and sameness in his multiple staging of Malaysian identities. His theatre process and practice were in several ways critical interventions into the Malaysian cultural landscape. This article will examine some of the strategies used in Krishen Jit's theatre that dealt with cultural difference and emerged as a valuable response to the tensions of identity in Malaysia. It interrogates his choices for theatre and how they indicate a conscious engagement with issues of plural identities within a multicultural mosaic. It seeks to offer a perspective on how the theatre provides an apt site for questions of agency and belonging that arise in negotiating issues of exclusion and inclusion within a plural socio-cultural space.
- PublicationMetadata onlyChanging places: Drama Box and the politics of space(Performance Research Books, 2022)
;Gough, Richard 48
- PublicationRestrictedTeaching social and emotional competencies: Influences from Kuo Pao Kun(2017)
;Shehnam KhanThis report delves into the key plays The Coffin is Too Big for the Hole (hereafter, The Coffin, 1984), Mama Looking for Her Cat (hereafter, Mama, 1988) and Lao Jiu (1990) written by local playwright Kuo Pao Kun (1939-2002) to point out the key themes that students of the 21st century will be able to learn from. Kuo addressed social issues within the Singaporean society in these plays that will be able to resonate with youths as they face similar issues such as the dilemma between meeting society’s standards and creating one’s individuality, the marginalisation of the elderly in a digital era, and the paradox of society’s rules. What students cannot achieve through classroom textbooks and pen-and-paper tests are the social and emotional competencies that they are capable of learning through drama: relationship management, responsible decision making and social awareness and embedded within core values: responsibility, care, harmony and resilience. As Singapore’s education system primarily focuses on facts and fixed knowledge and leave little room for students to learn values and key competencies, it leaves gaps in pupils’ learning (Tan, 2006). These skills and knowledge that are the gaps in learning are most often learned in informal learning, which are difficult to plan, hence teachers often deem them as unproductive. However, it is through explorations of social contexts that content is learnt with experience in a dialectic manner (Lee & Hung, 2012). These gaps occur because students are not critically engaged with their learning material, and the activities they are exposed to provide little ‘hands-on’ in spontaneous decision-making, expression of perspectives and understanding and appreciating from different angles of an issue. Drama, however, enables students to express their perspectives in physical, symbolic ways that creates depth in learning where “experiences and ideas are exchanged and subjected to to criticism, where misconceptions are corrected, and new lines of thought and inquiry are set up” (Dewey, as cited in Chan, 2009). Introducing Kuo Pao Kun to a classroom of young learners will see to a resolution of his themes and ideas fitting perfectly with the gaps in the education system. Kuo’s theme of multiculturalism in Mama Looking for Her Cat (1988) is a relevant one that proposes the social awareness competency, as students in Singapore encounter diversity daily. In addition, in The Coffin is Too Big for the Hole (1984) and Lao Jiu (1993), the ever apparent issue of conflict with one’s principles and belief systems is an applicable issue to introduce responsible decision-making to students. These competencies mentioned are the tools pertinent to the creation of students’ own identity and individuality as they embark on other challenges in life. In this paper, the lesson plans will demonstrate how Kuo Pao Kun’s themes within his plays can be infused in lessons to develop well-rounded individuals capable of managing relevant social issues that Kuo had pointed out in his work. Drama and theatre activities such as tableaux, hot-seating and role-playing can involve students in deep reflection and creative, critical thinking. Incorporating drama in lessons makes learning interestingly unconventional and ignites passion and interest in pupils, which is exactly what pupils need in order to close the gaps in the education system (Tan, 2006). 598 26
- PublicationOpen Access
- PublicationMetadata onlyThe Routledge companion to theatre and young people(Routledge, 2022)
;Busby, Selina ;Freebody, KellyThis companion interrogates the relationship between theatre and youth from a global perspective, taking in performances and theatre made by, for, and about young people. These different but interrelated forms of theatre are addressed through four critical themes that underpin the ways in which analysis of contemporary theatre in relation to young people can be framed: political utterances – exploring the varied ways theatre becomes a platform for political utterance as a process of dialogic thinking and critical imagining; critical positioning – examining youth theatre work that navigates the sensitive, dynamic, and complex terrains in which young people live and perform; pedagogic frames – outlining a range of contexts and programmes in which young people learn to make and understand theatre that reflects their artistic capacities and aesthetic strategies; applying performance – discussing a range of projects and companies whose work has been influential in the development of youth theatre within specific contexts. Providing critical, research-informed, and research-based discussions on the intersection between young people, their representation, and their participation in theatre, this is a landmark text for students, scholars, and practitioners whose work and thinking involves theatre and young people. 29
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- PublicationOpen AccessEngaging difference through theatre: Border pedagogy in Southeast Asia(2019)Southeast Asia’s location as a crossroads between East Asia and South Asia, marks it as a region deeply entrenched in difference. Its history marks it as a region that is highly complex, where apart from indigenous cultures that have survived the tides of change, there are several deeply embedded influences from East Asia and South Asia, the West and elsewhere that have become integral aspects of what is local (Reid, 2015). Education that seeks to deepen an understanding of this history and recognize its value as a resource for regional coherence and cooperation must then negotiate the borderlines of culture that have contributed to how Southeast Asian nations apprehend themselves, and in relation to each other In this article I propose a critical approach to ‘regionalist’ education in Southeast Asia by engaging with issues of culture in teaching and learning contemporary theatre. I deploy Henry Giroux’s border pedagogy as a working frame to grapple with difference in Southeast Asia, with particular reference to his view that borders are expressions of power that need to be interrogated through pedagogies of difference. I then describe and analyse how the learning process and assessment tasks created for an undergraduate module on Contemporary Theatre in Southeast Asia at a teacher-education institution in Singapore, offer students a space to work with pedagogies of ‘difference’ and ‘discomfort’ and thus reconfigure the boundaries of their identities and communities as potentially local, regional and global.
- PublicationMetadata onlyPerforming Southeast Asia: Performance, politics and the contemporaryExamines new and recent Southeast Asian performances and artists Engages specifically with political theatres Expands the discussion around censorship and gender with new and 'inside' perspectives
- PublicationMetadata only(Un)learning theatre through stories of growing up: Difference and multiplicity in Singapore(2022)This article considers the value of growing up stories among theatre practitioners in Singapore as a resource for learning theatre in multicultural contexts. It engages with the lived experiences of five Singapore theatre practitioners, Alfian Sa’at, Alvin Tan, Haresh Sharma, Kok Heng Leun and Ong Keng Sen, whose contributions to discourses on multiplicity and performance are significant in the city–state and internationally. Concepts of ‘Open Culture’ (Kuo. 1998. “Contemplating an Open Culture: Transcending Multiracialism.” In Singapore: Re-Engineering Success, edited by Arun Mahiznan, and Lee Tsao Yuan, 55–60. Singapore: Oxford University Press), ‘postcolonial conviviality’ (Gilroy. 2005. Postcolonial Melancholia. New York: Columbia University Press) and ‘critical multiculturalism’ (Goh. 2009. “Conclusion: Toward a Critical Multiculturalism.” In Race and Multiculturalism in Malaysia and Singapore, edited by Daniel P.S. Goh, 213–218. London: Routledge) are proposed as useful frames for understanding theatre in multicultural contexts, and from which the idea of a ‘bricoleur imagination’ is derived.