Performing Disasters: Indigenous Ecological Knowledge in/within Applied Theatre as Post-Disaster Response

Dennis Gupa, University of Victoria/University of Winnipeg


Postscripts from the Pacific: Reflections on Archival Research into Cultural Memory, Historical Trauma, and Political Struggle in the Philippines


In this paper I will illustrate decoloniality in dramaturgy work by using the processes and enquiry of applied theatre informed by ontology of ritual performances and fishing traditions. I will build my discussion of climate change, Indigenous environmental epistemology, and applied theatre through multi-narrative discourse that underpins creativity, agency, and relationality. Through my methodological interventions, I formulated a theatrical practice deployed in a typhoon-battered site in Eastern Samar, Samar Province, Philippines that reinforces social emancipation through collective performance creations and curations. This theatrical practice uses a performance method informed by the ritual of sociality and fishing traditions and was conceptualized through a series of collective and collaborative artistic-academic processes of transforming disaster stories into community-based theatre performances. The conceptualization of this performance method aimed to theorize applied theatre as a practice of post-disaster response art. Eventually, I argue that by Indigenizing a performance method, community-based-theatre performances mobilizes a decolonial theatre that broadens, equalizes, and diversifies climate change dialogues.

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