A Bran Nue Dae? Decolonising the Musical Theatre Curriculum in The Oxford Handbook of the Global Stage Musical

Abstract

Decolonising the musical theatre curriculum in higher education is much more radical and comprehensive than exposing students to a greater volume of commercially-celebrated work featuring Black, Indigenous and Asian artists. The process of decolonisation begins by understanding how we could make universities accountable to the circumstances of the real artists who create the work. The challenge for academic leads in musical theatre is that they are preparing students for an industry that does not see decolonisation as an aim. For the globalised musical, the nexus of Broadway-West End is the cornerstone of an unyielding power structure that relies upon multiple canons of work enabled by a network of capitalist-colonialist nation-states whose social, economic and cultural structures depend upon the centrality of these canons. This chapter will consider how a very grounded story about a very particular set of lived circumstances, namely in Jimmy Chi and Kuckles’ Bran Nue Dae, is instructive as to how we begin to decolonise our understanding of commercial musical theatre globally and within the university sector. Entailed in this are matters of: who curates and theorises this material, who performs it as part of an educational curriculum, how we decolonise the training of skills in both analysing and performing the genre, and the productions we stage

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    Last time updated on 07/01/2023

    This paper was published in Goldsmiths Research Online.

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