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Decolonising the British Canon

Young vic

Decolonising the British Canon

2.00pm – 4.00pm

11 June 2020


What is the ‘canon’? Who and what does it privilege? Who does it exclude? How does this shape the way we understand and represent identities in performance?


Global Origins is leading a workshop and discussion about decolonising the British theatrical canon. At a time when theatre is in flux and massive changes in the industry are inevitable, a vital way to diversify British theatre and empower artists from marginalised backgrounds in the post-pandemic landscape is to dismantle the systems of power that operate through art and culture.


This event will unpack what the British canon is, its influence on emerging artists’ identities and the impact it has on representation in theatre. Using a selection of filmed performances, we will question which stories and writers we see repeatedly on the British stage, and how interrogating these choices can make theatre practice more diverse and inclusive.


The workshop will offer practical tools for decolonising, including a checklist of questions for artists to consider in order to create meaningful representation in their own practice, and end with an open discussion about future steps.


Here are production links, all free and on YouTube. It would be useful for those taking part to watch these productions before the session but is not essential. Attendees can consume any/all/none of these:


-Mendoza, (Los Colochos Teatro, Southwark Playhouse, 2016)


-Macbeth [for young people] (Shakespeare's Globe, 2020)


-Macbeth [extract] (Forced Entertainment, Berliner Festspiele, 2015)


And here's a free version of the whole play:



Please let us know if you would like to attend by signing up here just so we get a sense of numbers and can email any relevant pre or post workshop information.


We will send out the Zoom link when we confirm your place on the session.


This is an open workshop to members outside of the Genesis Network too - directors, designers and producers. 


If you have access requirements please let us know.


Global Origins is a platform and network for international and multicultural artists founded by Aneesha Srinivasan and Emma Jude Harris. Global Origins recently curated ARE WE THERE YET? a festival of international art at the Bussey Building and has just created HERE, a digital hub for international artists who may be struggling during COVID-19. 


The Genesis Network is funded by the Genesis Foundation