Afroscenology and British actors? Mobilising cultural and linguistic resources in performer training with Samuel Ravengai and Claire French.

Room GS1 (Charles W. Gillet Centre), Teams (Registration Required)
Wednesday 31 January 2024 (16:30-18:30)

Unfortunately, Dr Samuel Ravengai’s UoB visit has been postponed to Semester 2 (week 3) due to his visa not arriving in time. Please see the below revised details, including change of venue. We are terribly sorry for this and hope that you can still join us.

A hybrid event in collaboration between: University of Birmingham's Department of African Studies and Anthropology ANTHRO TALKS, the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts and Reading Decoloniality.

A major barrier to actors’ artistic exploration within performer training is their embodiment of cultural and linguistic norms within the higher education institution. This includes notions of a standard language and national culture. Actors embody these norms through their vision of the future, both in what they expect is needed for good grades, and employability. Yet, artistic innovation best thrives in simultaneous processes of looking inwards and outwards, nurturing vulnerability and discovery.

A recent University of Birmingham-based programme of decolonial co-teaching and exchange (Mar - Nov 2023) between Dr Samuel Ravengai, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and Dr Claire French, University of Birmingham, UK has paired the concepts ‘Afroscenology’ and ‘disinhibition’ to mobilise actors’ cultural and linguistic resources.

Ravengai, currently in Birmingham as a visiting scholar, has defined Afroscenology as the African embodiment of culture as it informs modes and principles of performer training. French’s view of disinhibition has positioned actors in intensive embodied moments during actor training to release inhibiting factors to multilingualism.

This presentation shares early findings from the programme to bring these ideas together. Findings include the impacts of a situated cultural relationship to authority on creative pedagogies, and some starting points for leveraging pedagogies as processes of discovery rather than end goals. Additionally discussed will be how Global South theories such as Afroscenology may begin to inform Global North-driven perspectives of embodiment and culture.


In person: 16:30 – 18:30 (GMT), Room GS1 (Charles W. Gillet Centre), please register by emailing

Virtually: 16:30 – 18:00 (GMT) via Teams with Reading Decoloniality, register at this link