Intergenerational theatre in India: a reflective practitioner case study on an intercultural theatre exchange between Canada and rural Tamil Nadu




Gusul, Matthew Joseph

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In 2004, a Tsunami had devastating effects on the province of Tamil Nadu, India. In the community’s re-building process, many elders were forced to live in areas of the coastal region referred to as “Grannie Dumps,” because their homes were destroyed. With the monetary help of HelpAge International and the guidance of Michael Etherton, these elders are now part of an active, healthy community named Tamaraikulam Elders Village (TEV) that wants to tell its story. In March 2008, Michael Etherton attended a Workshop/Performance of GeriActors & Friends (G&F), an intergenerational theatre company from Edmonton, AB. I was G&F’s Assistant Director. After this, Etherton connected me with HelpAge India and TEV, realizing that the methods used with G&F would benefit TEV. Starting in January 2013 and completing in June 2015, under my direction, the University of Victoria’s Theatre Department assisted TEV in creating intergenerational theatre performance with various young people’s charity groups throughout the Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry region. The dissertation is structured as a reflective practitioner case study and is split into two sections. The first section of my work will communicate to the reader the events of the case study in India. The latter half of this work will be a collection of exegesis chapters reflecting upon the salient issues for the field of applied theatre research and practice which my research project brings up and how my reflections will affect my future practice while providing suggestions for how they could impact the entire field of applied theatre.



Theatre, Applied Theatre, Drama, Development Studies, Intergenerational, Theatre for Development, India