Courtney Elkin Mohler, associate professor of theatre, Boston College
Naveen Choudhury, visiting assistant professor of theater and dance, Amherst College
Christopher Grobe, associate professor and chair of English, Amherst College
Over the last few years, artists and arts organizations have shown renewed interest in making U.S.-based theater more "decolonial"-- that is, less constrained by white and settler-colonial perspectives and more enabling of ideas, people and practices from the global majority. This panel brings together two professor-practitioners of theater to discuss these recent efforts, to assess their promise and limitations, and to imagine a path forward for U.S.-based theater.
Questions considered will include: What have artists achieved under the banner of “decolonizing” theater? What remains difficult to achieve under this banner? Is there a difference between “decolonizing” a play or performance and transforming the theater as a community, as an institution, or as a set of art-making practices? To what extent do the symbolic or representational benefits of such “decolonization” accrue materially to BIPOC artists and audiences?
Courtney Elkin Mohler is a director, dramaturg and scholar who focuses on contemporary Native theater. She regularly directs and dramaturgs for the professional Native American theatre company Native Voices in Los Angeles and serves on their National Play Reading Panel. Most recently, she is co-author with Jaye T. Darby and Christy Stanlake of Bloomsbury-Methuen’s Critical Companion to Native American and First Nations Theatre: Indigenous Spaces.
Naveen Choudhury is a playwright, librettist and lyricist whose work has been produced, commissioned and/or developed by Ma-Yi Theater, Prospect Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Second Stage Theatre, New Federal Theatre, Martha's Vineyard Playhouse, Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, The Lark Play Development Center, New Dramatists and more.