Performing Delhi: Understanding the street through Marxist, feminist and ritual theatres
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
The thesis is on permanent embargo because it contains sensitive material.
This thesis is concerned with the relationship between the street theatre practices in Delhi and the spaces of their performance. Writings on theatre practices within the boundaries of Delhi have overlooked the role cultural capital affords practitioners owing to their geographical, ideological and social affiliations understood as spatial networks. This research project undertakes to identify spatial structures that frame the reading of street theatre in Delhi to open up questions of privilege and access through an analysis of its performance sites. I focus on five case studies across three categories of performance – feminist performers Maya Rao and Mallika Taneja, street theatre company Jana Natya Manch (Janam) and the Ramlila as performed in New Delhi and Old Delhi. In order to do this, the research has drawn extensively on Henri Lefebvre’s two sets of trialectics as outlined in The Production of Space (1991), which are adapted in order to provide an approach to identifying the spatial frameworks within which performances are situated. My three categories, 'geographical', 'affective' and 'discursive' space are applied to each of the three sets of case studies, and my conclusion assesses the usefulness of such a methodology for prompting consideration of previously-ignored contexts for Indian performance. I propose that my thesis provides a prompt to engage with the spatiality of Indian theatrical performance, while also demonstrating the extent to which an understanding of the politics of performance relies on the understanding of spatial practice, both contemporary and historical.
PhD in Drama