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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Culture and identity : language use in intercultural theatre Holman, Anna Caitlin


In the practice and production of intercultural theatre, language has held a variety of functions. However, the connection between language and culture in the theoretical models of intercultural theatre has been largely unexplored. The theories of linguistic anthropologists Dell Hymes, Richard Bauman, Joel Sherzer, and Charles Briggs postulate that language is a fundamental component of culture and that performative events present ideal sites for analysis. Mary Bucholtz, Kira Hall, and Norma Mendoza-Denton theorize that identity is a performative act of the self and other through language. Given these theories, this research asks: how does language function as a property of culture and identity in intercultural theatre? To answer this question, I have examined the role of language in two intercultural theatre productions which previewed in Vancouver, Canada in 2016. The analysis of these two works, Kayoi Komachi: A Noh Chamber Opera and Lady Sunrise, includes live and video-recorded performance analyses, script analysis, and interviews with the participating artists. This thesis demonstrates that language in intercultural theatre both informs cultural representation and influences the identities of the performers and their characters. With these findings, this research suggests that future models of intercultural theatre frame culture within a linguistic context.

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