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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The embodied politics of relational Indigenous dramaturgies Lachance, Lindsay


There has been an expansion of Indigenous theatre across Turtle Island in the last thirty years, as well as an emergence of research devoted to its various processes and manifestations. The central contribution of this dissertation is the redefining of dramaturgy to include processes that are more than new play development practices or highly intensive research obligations, processes that are to be understood as relational and inclusive of the people, places, ancestors and other beings involved in the work. This dissertation offers a three-part Relational Indigenous dramaturgical model of land-based, placed-based and community-engaged dramaturgies. Land-based, placed-based and community-engaged dramaturgies exemplify a flourishing of Indigenous presence, actions and knowledges through embodied and collaborative theatrical processes that are not confined within Western or traditional theatre practices, but that emanate, grow and shine within the bodies and hearts of Indigenous practitioners. Relational Indigenous dramaturgies explore how the artists I have worked with are informed by individual, nation-based or community-based knowledges, but whose practices express newfound contemporary approaches and stories. I have played a sometimes central, sometimes peripheral role in the processes or events described in this dissertation, and these entry points allow me to analyze how the development processes connect to political and anticolonial theatre practices. In describing and analyzing theatrical events, gatherings and programs that I have been involved in, I offer a new approach to dramaturgy that is relational and community oriented. Throughout this dissertation, I link Indigenous dramaturgies to critical Indigenous theories of resurgence and self-recognition as elucidated primarily by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (Michi Saagiig Anishinaabe) and Glen Coulthard (Yellowknives Dene). The political undertones of self-representation and self-determination are present in the work that I analyze, and I argue that the Indigenous dramaturgical processes and events that I have been involved in celebrate Indigenous resistance through artistic embodied thought and action.

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