Dr Yvette Hutchison
Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance
Director of Graduate Studies
Tel: +44(0)24 765 74278
Room G23, Millburn House
University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7HS
Yvette Hutchison taught at the Universities of Natal, Stellenbosch and the Western-Cape in South Africa in both English and Drama Departments from 1988–1997. She researched her PhD at the Institute for African Studies in Germany, with a DAAD scholarship in 1997–8, while registered in the Drama Department at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, and received her PhD in 1999. She lectured at Winchester University (1999–2006) on the BA Drama and Theatre in the Community and MA in Theatre & Media for Development.
Yvette joined the department at Warwick in April 2006 where she has continued to develop her research and teaching interests focussed on theatre in the African context, particularly South Africa, and intercultural theatre practices. Her most recent publications include the monograph South African Performance and the Archives of Memory, (Manchester University Press, 2013) and a chapter on contemporary South African women playwrights Lara Foot-Newton and Yael Farber in Contemporary Women Playwrights: into the Twenty-First Century (Palgrave, 2013).
Current AHRC-funded project: African Women Playwrights' Network
I am working collaboratively on this project with AMY JEPHTA, a playwright who is also a lecturer in the Drama department at University of Cape-Town, South Africa. We aim to bring together, in a virtual space via a mobile application accessible on feature phones and computers, female theatre practitioners living in Africa, researchers and other interested parties to dialogue and collaborate on their creative and/ or critical engagements with key issues that inform and impact on understanding the lived experiences of contemporary women in Africa.
The app, built by Every1Mobile, will be launched at the Women’s Playwright International Conference (WPIC) on 30 June 2015 in Cape Town. Thereafter it will be accessible at AWPN.org
The application will have three primary functions:
- to allow female artists from Africa to create profiles for themselves and their work, to increase their visibility and connectivity beyond regions, to access one another and others nationally and internationally.
- to highlight events from regions posting each month. This will both connect artists, and allow other interested parties (researchers, programmers, etc) to see key activities happening in the field of performance in various regions of Africa easily.
- to facilitate researchers engagement with artists via forums. Amy and I will post discussions on topics based around our own research, as well as issues that have arisen from surveys that we have conducted with participants through the project.
For further information, or if you have questions, please feel free to mail me at Y.A.Hutchison@warwick.ac.uk
- Principal investigator in Leverhulme Performing Memory Project (2009–2013)
- Post-colonial theatre
- Theatre in the African context
- Intercultural Theatre
- Contemporary South African Theatre
- Contemporary African women as playwrights/play-makers
My primary research interest is African theatre and performance, and its relationship to history, myth, and memory, particularly with regard to hidden, or forgotten memories and contemporary identity construction in post-Apartheid South Africa. I am at present expanding my research to incorporate issues related to orality, and intra- and inter-cultural exchange, and how they are affected by specific ideological, social and aesthetic contexts. Related to this is my interest in theatre as a tool for advocacy, both at a local and in wider contexts. To this end I have both practical and teaching experience in Theatre for Development and am still affiliated with CDC-arts.
This interest in theatre in the contexts of history, myth and memory has resulted in several essays on contemporary South African theatre that have been published in journals and edited collections including Contemporary Theatre Review, South African Theatre Journal, A History of Theatre in Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and several Palgrave books. I have co-edited various journal and book collections; most recently Contemporary Theatre Review, focused on theatre in Africa (2011), African Theatre History: 1850-1950 (James Currey, 2010), and my monograph Performance and the Archive of Memory (Manchester University Press, 2013), was funded by a three-year Leverhulme Research Grant for the project entitled Performing Memory: Theatricalising identity in contemporary South Africa (2009–2012).
My latest research projects will be looking at how aesthetic choices effect performative engagement with sensitive issues and memories, particularly by women in the African context and in the ways in which artists and ethnographers are re-visiting European colonialism in Africa, particularly in restaging Human Zoos of the 19th century.
Teaching and supervision
In first year I teach on the Performance Analysis module, which introduces students to ways of analysing plays and public events, like the Truth Commission, or an Olympic Games opening ceremony.
My second year elective undergraduate courses include Theatre in the African Context (TH222) which introduces students to the diversity of theme and form of theatre in Africa in the post-colonial context; South African Theatre (TH234) which traces the development of South African theatre from the apartheid period to post-apartheid responses to the new democracy.
My third year module Intercultural Performance Practices (TH320) explores issues related to making or analysing contemporary intercultural performance practice.
PhD supervisions: I supervise in the areas of my research interest. Recent supervisions include:
- Nesrin Alrefaai (2009): An analytical study of Sadallah Wannous's contribution towards defining an Arabic theatre in the Twentieth Century. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
- Awelani Moyo (March 2010–2013): Re-tracing invisible maps – landscape in and as performance in contemporary South Africa (Leverhulme Scholarship).
- Alexi Marchel (Oct 2011–): Staging the Nation: Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the War of 1812 Bicentennial (Chancellor's International Scholarship).
Luana Tavano Garcia (Oct 2014 - ) Brazil performing itself: popular music, performativity and national identity at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games (Chancellor's International Scholarship).
- 2013–14: exam secretary, and assistant on Admissions, particularly engaged with international students' applications.
- 2014–15: Director of Graduate Studies.
South African Performance and Archives of Memory, Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2013
This book explores how South Africa is negotiating its past in and through various modes of performance in contemporary theatre, public events and memorial spaces, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the SA-Mali Timbuktu Manuscript Project, the 2010 South African World Cup opening ceremony. How memorial sites are involved in 'staging the nation: the Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park; and how popular repertoires, particularly songs and dances related to the Struggle, revivals of classic European and South African protest plays, new history plays are being used to highlight specific racial and ethnic histories and identities and disavowed memories.
Women Playwrights in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Yael Farber, Lara Foot-Newton, and the Call for Ubuntu. Published 20 December, 2013, in Contemporary Women Women Playwrights into the twenty-first century, Lesley Ferris and Penny Farfan (eds.) Basingstoke & New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 148-163.
African Theatre: Histories 1850 and 1950 (guest editor) 2010. James Currey/ Boydell & Brewer Inc.
The “Dark Continent” goes North: an exploration of intercultural theatre practice through Handspring and Sogolon Puppet companies’ 'The Tall Horse'. (2010) Theatre Journal, 62, 57–73.
Post-1990s Verbatim Theatre in South Africa: Exploring an African Concept of 'Truth’ (2010), in Dramaturgy of the Real on the World Stage, Martin, Carol (ed). Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 61-71.
Verbatim Theatre in South Africa: ‘Living theatre in a person’s performance.’ (2009), in Get Real: Documentary Theatre Past and Present, Alison Forsyth & Chris Megson (eds), Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 209-223. 2009
Truth or Bust: Consensualising a historic narrative or provoking through theatre – the place of the personal narrative in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Contemporary Theatre Review, (2005),15:3, 34-362.
Riding Osofisan’s Another Raft through the sea of Nigerian history: Theatre for Agency. South African Theatre Journal, No. 19, 242-253.
Memory and desire: the museum as space for performing cultural identity? (2004) in African Theatre: Southern Africa, David Kerr (ed.) Oxford: James Currey, Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press, 51-67.
South African Theatre (2004) in 'A History of Theatre in Africa', Martin Banham (ed.) Cambridge University Press, 312-379.
- International Federation for Theatre Research, member
African Theatre Association, member
South Africa Federation for Theatre Research, member
- Editor for African Theatre series (James Currey)
- Assistant editor on South African Theatre Journal (Taylor & Francis)
- On Editorial board for Performing Ethos: An International Journal of Ethics in Theatre & Performance (Intellect)
- PhD (Stellenbosch)