Representations of Muslim Women in Contemporary British Theatre
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
Thesis contains unpublished material provided to me by the playwrights for the purpose of the thesis only.
This PhD thesis sets out to study how Muslim women have been depicted in contemporary British plays. I am studying these depictions in eight plays: 1. Deadeye by Amber Lone, first performed in October 2006 at The Door, Birmingham Repertory Theatre. 2. Sweet Cider by Emteaz Hussain, London 2008. 3. Shades by Alia Bano, London 2009. 4. What Fatima Did by Atiha Sen Gupta, London 2009. 5. Sisters by Stephanie Street, Sheffield 2010. 6. Burq Off! by Nadia Manzoor, London 2014. 7. My Name Is... by Sudha Bhuchar, London 2014 8. East Is East by Ayub Khan-Din, London 2014. I am arguing in my introduction that there is an emerging theory within feminism that I am calling Islamic feminisms, and I am using it as a framework for my analysis of the plays in the thesis. Islamic feminisms draw on, and are influenced by questions of cultural hybridity, second wave Western feminism, and religious ideology. Three key issues emerge from study of the plays: the question of the hijab, the position of women within the Muslim family, and the integration/non-integration of Muslim women in British society. Each chapter develops an extended study of one of these key issues, including a literature review of the social, political, religious, or cultural backgrounds of the issue, and then goes on to analyse a selected number of plays where these issues are either the main or one of the main topics. The analyses look at the play as a cultural event, examining the circumstances surrounding the writing and producing of each play and assessing the possible contribution that the play has made to contemporary debates about these issues. I analyse not just thematic content, but also the ways in which performativity has conveyed messages and initiated or invited dialogues about the issues. My analysis develops an evaluation of the significance of these plays to the cultural debate in the UK around these key issues, and reflects on the contribution of these plays and the development of Muslim feminist plays in the future.
PhD in Drama