South African performance and archives of memory

By Yvette Hutchison

South African performance and archives of memory


  • Paperback
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8373-0
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: June 2013
  • BIC Category: Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: plays & playwrights, Theatre Studies, Theatre studies, Literary studies: plays & playwrights, PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General, Republic of South Africa
  • Series: Theatre: Theory - Practice - Performance


This book explores how South Africa is negotiating its past in and through various modes of performance in contemporary theatre, public events and memorial spaces. It analyses the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a live event, as an archive, and in various theatrical engagements with it, asking throughout how the TRC has affected the definition of identity and memory in contemporary South Africa, including disavowed memories.

Hutchison then considers how the SA-Mali Timbuktu Manuscript Project and the 2010 South African World Cup opening ceremony attempted to restage the nation in their own ways. She investigates how the Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park embody issues related to memory in contemporary South Africa. She also analyses current renegotiations of popular repertoires, particularly songs and dances related to the Struggle, revivals of classic European and South African protest plays, new history plays and specific racial and ethnic histories and identities.


Hutchison's book is a welcome addition to the scholarship on South African performance, exploring the tensions between the archives of the past and the repertoires of the present in South Africa after 1994., Megan Lewis, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Modern Drama, 20 May 2015

'The book provided valuable insights and provoked deep thought, as well as providing a well of information on different topics.'
N Jade Gibson, Wits City Institute, University of Witwatersrand, South African Theatre Journal

'For any reader interested to learn more on the current state of performance and theatre in South Africa, Hutchison's study will provide an extremely valuable and informative account of the field. Most impressive is the ample space she grants for close readings of a host of recent theatrical productions.'
Ed Charlton, Journal of Contemporary Drama in English (JCDE) 2016/4(2)


1. The TRC's Reconfiguring of the Past: Remembering and Forgetting
2. Dramatising the TRC: The role of theatre practitioners in exploring the past
3. Staging a nation: the Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park
4. Performing the African Renaissance and the 'Rainbow Nation'
5. Post-apartheid repertoires of memory


Yvette Hutchison is Associate Professor in the School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies at the University of Warwick, UK

South African performance and archives of memory

By Yvette Hutchison

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

Paperback £18.99 / $27.95

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