Theatre and Utopia: Imagining Better Worlds

Theatre and performance offer an opportunity to connect audiences through shared catharsis, social bonding and the collective regeneration of worlds that can only exist through our imaginations. The potential and possibility of theatre and performance to create or re-create utopia and utopian ideals on stage is vast. The idealistic creation of places and structures which characters perceive of as sanctuary, the crucial element of hope as a driving force for story progression and the exploration of alternative worlds and world views are common threads running through many forms of theatre and performance. Are we as audiences drawn into such worlds and stories because they can provide a blueprint for how best to undo oppressive structures in our own worlds? Do such performances serve as an optimistic and educational benchmark of culture or can utopia, if it is ever to be achieved, only exist on the stage or page rather than in the outside world? In this talk we explore the ways in which Utopia and Utopian ideals have been presented in performance and ask what the impact and effect of such performances has had upon us.    

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Jordana Belaiche is a writer, director and dramaturg based in London. Her work centres on class and gender, she has a love of folklore, witchcraft and the occult and is well versed in all things uncanny. She is the author of two full length plays and several short stories. Find more of her projects and work through IG: @chronicallyuntimely

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