Dr Emer O Toole

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Personal profile

Personal profile

Rights of Representation in Intercultural Theatre Practice: The Ethics of Collaboration

My research is situated in the rich academic discourse surrounding intercultural theatre practice. Pro-intercultural intellectuals and practitioners, often universalists, believe that cultural exchange is a two way street: that intercultural theatre facilitates the sharing of ideas and helps people to learn from one another. ‘Geography,’ Peter Brook tells us in this vein, ‘is bunk.’ Anti-intercultural intellectuals, often cultural nationalists, point to the fact that it is only first world theatre practitioners who have the privilege to cross national borders in search of exotic inspiration. They criticize many of the most celebrated and successful intercultural productions of our times for ethnocentricity and cultural piracy.  

My doctoral research proposes an ethics of intercultural theatre, offering a materially engaged framework through which to approach both the problematics and positive potential of intercultural practice. Framing intercultural debates in terms of rights of representation, it suggests that the right to represent Othered people and cultures can be strengthened through 1) involvement of members of all represented cultures, 2) equality and creative agency of all collaborators, 3) advantageousness of a given project to all involved, and 4) positive socio-political effects of a production within its performance contexts. Working through four diverse case studies – Tim Supple’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pan Pan Theatre Company’s The Playboy of the Western World, Peter Brook’s 11 and 12 and Bisi Adigun and Roddy Doyle’s The Playboy of the Western World – this project uses a Bourdieusian theoretical framework to flag elements of contemporary intercultural practice that strengthen and weaken rights of representation. It recognises that Orientalist and Eurocentric modes of representing Otherness still require address; equally, it points to laudable working practices, moving towards a pragmatics of best intercultural theatre practice.

 

 

Publications

'Towards Best Intercultural Practice: An Analysis of Tim Supple's pan-IndianA Midsummer Night's Dream.' Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance 4.3, 2011. 

‘Universality and Difference: The Politics of Peter Brook’s 11 and 12.’Alt.theatre: Cultural Diversity and the Stage 8.1, 2010.

‘Review of Representation and Contestation: Cultural Politics in a Political Century ed. Ching-Yu Linn and John McSweeney.’ Performing Ethos 1.2, 2011.

‘Review of Political Performances ed. Deirdre Heddon et al.’ Contemporary Theatre Review. 20.4, 2010.

‘Review of Theatre and Globalisation by Patrick Lonergan.’ Platform. 5.1, 2009 

 

Conference Papers 


'Mediating Interculturalism in a Globalized Era.' International Federation of Theatre Research Conference. Pontifcia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile. 26 July 2012

'Interculturalism in a Globalized Era: A Study of Tim Supple's 1001 Nights.'Performance Studies International Conference. University of Leeds, Leeds, UK. 25 June 2012.

'Intercultural Playboys: Contemporary Conflicts.' Synge Summer School. Avondale House, County Wicklow, Ireland. 2 July 2011.

'Interculturalism.' The Literary and Critical Theory Seminar. Senate House. Bloomsbury. 25 May 2011.

'The British Council and Shakespeare in India.' International Perspectives on Performance. Centre for International Theatre and Performance Research. Royal Holloway, University of London. 10 Mar. 2011.

‘Towards an Ethics of Intercultural Exchange: Theory and Practice.’ London Theatre Seminar. Senate House, Bloomsbury. 14 Oct. 2010.

‘Translation and Agency: A Study of Pan Pan Theatre Company’s The Playboy of the Western World.’ International Federation of Theatre Research World Congress. Munich. Ludwig Maximillien University. July 2010.

‘Interculturalism, Orientalism and Cultural Capital: Pan Pan Theatre Company’s The Playboy of the Western World.’ Performing Postcolonial Modernity. The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh. May 2010.

‘Rights of Representation and Ageny: A Study of Pan Pan Theatre Company’s The Playboy of the Western World.’ Theatre Translation as Collaboration: Re-routing Text Through Performance. Queen Mary, University of London, London. March 2010.

‘Rights of Representation in Intercultural Theatre Practice: A Study of Bisi Adigun and Roddy Doyle’s The Playboy of the Western World.’ International Federation of Theatre Research World Congress. University of Lisbon, Lisbon. July 2009.

‘Rights of Representation in Intercultural Theatre Practice: Collaboration and the Other.’ Mapping Performance. Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham. June 2009.

 

Editorial Work

Head Editor (with Mara Lockowandt) of Platform 5.2: Theatre and Community, Spring 2011

Head Editor (with Mara Lockowandt) of Platform 5.1: Transformations, Autumn 2010

Head Editor (with Jim Ellison) of Platform 4.2: Mapping Performance, Autumn 2009

Editorial Board Member (under Rachel Clements and Jim Ellison) of Platform 4.1: Staging Genders, Spring 2009

 

Affiliations

I am currently New Scholars’ Representative of the International Federation of Theatre Research

 

Teaching Experience

Seminar Leader and Lecturer. Critical Theories 1. Royal Holloway Drama Department. Lecturing on Pierre Bourdieu and the Frankfurt School. Autumn/Winter 2010

English Language Tutor. Pre-sessional English Language Programme. Royal Holloway International. Summer 2010.

Seminar Leader and Lecturer. Critical Theories 2. Royal Holloway Drama Department. Lecturing on Postcolonialism and Phenomenology. Spring 2010.

Workshop Faciliator and Teacher. Contemporary Theatremaking. Royal Holloway Drama Department. Teaching the work of Rimini Protokol. Autumn/Winter 2009.

Seminar Leader and Lecturer. Critical Theories 1. Royal Holloway Drama Department. Lecturing on Pierre Bourdieu. Autumn/Winter 2009.

English Language Tutor. Pre-sessional English Language Programme. Royal Holloway International. Summer 2009.

Seminar Leader and Lecturer. Critical Theories 2. Royal Holloway Drama Department. Lecturing on Postcolonialism and Phenomenology. Spring 2009. 

 

Teaching Qualifications

I hold RHUL's inSTIL qualification (Programme in Skills of Teaching to Inspire Learning), and am thus accredited by the Higher Education Academy as a third level educator.

I hold TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificates in teaching skills and grammar from I-to-I TEFL, 2008

I hold a teacher’s diploma in Speech and Drama from the Irish Board of Speech and Drama, 2002.

 

Conference Organisation

Somewhere Between Science and Legend: A Colloquium on Cirque du Soleil and Robert Lepage’s Totem. Dr. Karen Fricker’s colloquium dealt with the work of Lepage and Cirque du Soleil in a dialogic and practically engaged way. The Centre for Creative Collaboration, London, January 2011.

Why Theatre History. This symposium centered around the themes and concerns of the forthcoming book The Cambridge Companion to Theatre History, to be edited by David Wiles and Christine Dymkowski. Royal Holloway, University of London, June 2010.

Postcolonial Memory: Resistance, Representation and Revival. This interdisciplinary postgraduate symposium was organised by the postgraduate committee of the Royal Holloway Postcolonial Research Group. Royal Holloway, University of London, September 2009.

Mapping Performance: Intercultural Spaces, Negotiable Boundaries. This postgraduate symposium explored postcolonial, intercultural and diasporic themes through panels and workshops, effectively weaving theory and practice together. Royal Holloway, University of London, June 2009.

 

Academic History

PhD in the Ethics of Intercultural Theatre from Royal Holloway, University of London, 2012.

M. Phil in Theatre and Performance from Trinity College Dublin, 2007.

B.A. in Philosophy and English from National University of Ireland, Galway, 2006.

 

Working and Reading Groups 

Translation, Adaptation and Dramaturgy Working Group. The International Federation of Theatre Research. Convened by Kurt Taroff.

Royal Holloway Postcolonial Research Group. Royal Holloway, University of London. Convened by Helen Gilbert, Tina Ramnarine and David Lambert.

International Perspectives on Performance. Royal Holloway. Convened by Matthew Cohen.

Postgraduate Feminist Reading Group. University of London. Convened by Sam McBean and Susan Civale.

Literary and Critical Theory Seminar. University of London. Convened by Dan O’Gorman.

 

Awards and Scholarships

Currently in receipt of the Thomas Holloway Scholarship for postgraduate study at Royal Holloway

Awarded the Una Ellis-Fermor Award to assist with expenses, including travelling, connected with publication of scholarly work in the fields of English, Scandinavian and Irish Drama. Royal Holloway, 2010.

Awarded postgraduate bursary to attend the International Federation of Theatre Research conference in Lisbon, 2009

Awarded bursary to attend the Irish Theatrical Diaspora Conference in Manchester, 2010.

Awarded scholarship to the Synge Summer School by the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College, 2007.

Awarded scholarship and title of University Scholar by NUI Galway, 2005.

Awarded scholarship and title of University Scholar by NUI Galway, 2004.

 

And Now For Something Completely Different: Non-academic Work and Interests


I enjoy writing for popular as well as academic audiences. My popular writing is represented by AP Watt literary agents.

I am a contributor to The Guardian newspaper, and to the feminist blogVagenda.

I write short stories, some of which you can hear narrated at 4'33'', an online audio magazine.

I have written many short plays and comedy sketches. Some have been staged at venues around London over the last three years, including the John Geilgud Theatre and the Hen and Chicken Theatre.

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