Lisa Woynarski Nov 5, 2021

Decolonising Ecodramaturgies

Ecodramaturgies: Theatre, Performance and Climate Change

This presentation is premised on recent critiques of the Anthropocene as homogenising, erasing difference and ignoring the unequal effects of climate change. Settler colonialism has been suggested as one the key markers in the shift in epochs to the Anthropocene, placing the exploitation of Indigenous peoples and lands at the heart of the concept (Lewis and Maslin 2015). With a focus on a British context of colonialism, I take an intersectional ecological approach based on the idea that, on a global scale, ecological effects are unevenly disrupted and tied to social structures that disproportionately affect marginalised people such as women, people of colour, Indigenous peoples and the poor. I consider how forgotten histories and the ongoing ecological effects of British colonialism in India are uncovered in the show-and-tell performance Common Salt (2018, 2020) by Sheila Ghelani and Sue Palmer. Salt also functions as an ecological material and metaphor in Salt. (2016–2019) by Selina Thompson as she retraces the British transatlantic slave trade, revealing the hidden connections between colonialism, enslavement, bodies and ecological elements. I argue that ecodramaturgies can bring to light ecological injustices in theatre and performance through an approach of intersectional ecologies.



Lisa (she/her) was born on traditional Anishinabewaki territory in Ontario, Canada. She is of white European settler/immigrant ancestry. She is now an immigrant herself as well as Associate Professor in Theatre in the Department of Film, Theatre & Television at the University of Reading, UK. As a performance-maker and scholar, her work connects performance and ecology, from an intersectional lens. She is the author of Ecodramaturgies: Theatre, Performance and Climate Change (Palgrave, 2020).

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