Encountering Europe on British Stages: Europe as a Canvas
Speaker: Dr Marilena Zaroulia, University of Winchester
“Since the result of the June 2016 referendum on Britain’s EU membership and the turmoil that the Brexit vote caused in British politics and society, there has been a lot of conversation about the role of theatre before and after Brexit. In this talk, I wish to consider this issue by moving away from the current moment and looking back at the last quarter-century and the ways in which Europe has been imagined and conceptualized on British stages since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Drawing on research for my current book project which aims to theorise and historicize the shifting relation of Britain with ‘continental’ Europe as manifested in British theatre and cultural policies since 1990, I will identify patterns of representation of Europe and European identities in British theatre whilst interrogating whether and how such patterns both resonate with and influence wider debates about the place of Britain in Europe and the place and value of Europe within Britain. What can we learn from the British performing arts scene of the last quarter-century about what Europe, as a cultural construct and political formation, means for Britain today? In order to offer some provisional conclusions on this question, I will focus on two plays (David Edgar’s 1994 Pentecost and Anders Lustgarten’s 2016 Seven Acts of Mercy) which present Europe as a canvas where intricate images of history and nostalgia are painted.”
Marilena Zaroulia is a Senior Lecturer in Drama at the Department of Performing Arts, University of Winchester. Her research focuses on theatre and performance and the cultural politics of post-1989 Europe. She is the co-editor of Performances of Capitalism, Crises and Resistance: Inside/Outside Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). She is currently working on the monograph Encountering Europe on British Stages for Methuen Drama Engage Series. She is the General Secretary of TaPRA.