Critical and Creative Encounters: recent seminars

Under the title of Critical and Creative Encounters, the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts offers a series of research events that bring together researchers, academics and artists, through papers, presentations, discussions and workshops.

Building on the research strengths of the department, Critical and Creative Encounters fosters discussion and collaboration, both within and beyond the discipline of drama, theatre and performance. Chaired by Dr Claire French

Recent recordings:

20 February 2023: Breathing through the feet by Sibusiso Mkhize | Screening + Q&A

My voice is my body. My body breathes and sounds each day as I live.
I breathe English, but I do not live it. I live isiZulu, isiNdebele, seSotho.
This is me, breathing through my feet

Breathing through the feet by Sibusiso Mkhize

This screening of Breathing through the feet explored performance-based methodologies for language revitalisation alongside Q&A session with the director, Sibusiso Mkhize, and the dramaturg/researcher, Dr Claire French. Chaired by Dr Kamran Khan.

This event was presented by Global Language Advocacy Day in partnership with The MOSAIC Group for Research on Multilingualism and Drama and Theatre Arts, University of Birmingham. Global Language Advocacy Day is a vast programme of activities promoting linguistic justice, with this year’s theme Language rights save lives.

14 December 2022: Afrosonic Mime: A Post-psychophysical Perspective 

Dr Samuel Ravengai (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg)

Afrosonic Mime: A Post-psychophysical Perspective

This presentation proposes the performatic technique of Afroscenology as a departure from psychophysical perspectives. I have defined Afroscenology as including three major components: the theory of the performer as the Afro-technique, the theory of the playtext as theatric theory and the theory of Afrosonic Mine as performatic technique. While the technique was observed occurring as tacit knowledge in several African productions across Zimbabwe and South Africa, my examples will be drawn from several laboratory performances at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. I teach presentational performance under the rubric ‘African Aesthetic’ as one of three performer training lecturers who run the two-year course Performance Practice in the Department of Theatre and Performance. During the first semester at first-year level, students develop a performance from a presentational play belonging to what we refer to as the ‘African great tradition’. At second-year level, students devise their own work deploying this Afro-technique. I analyse these examples to discuss how Afrosonic mime makes the invisible visible for students. While discussing this tenet of Afroscenology, I seek to relanguage the practice and develop critical vocabulary to share the technique with scholars across the global north and south. 

Dr Samuel Ravengai is Associate Professor of Theatre at the Department of Theatre and Performance, University of the Witwatersrand. He holds a PhD in Drama from UCT, teaching and researching in the areas of performance studies, directing and writing. He propounded the theory of Afroscenology. In its current usage, it refers to performance practices developed by African practitioners and Africanists who have revolutionised and expanded an understanding of acting/performing and performer training. Ravengai is currently the Editor in Chief of South African Theatre Journal and sits on the editorial boards of Palgrave Macmillan, Performance and Migration and Imbizo Journal of Literary Studies, UNISA Press.