Theatre and the Politics of Culture in Contemporary Singapore

Theatre and the Politics of Culture in Contemporary Singapore

by William Peterson


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While the politics of Singapore continue to receive a larger share of media attention than the country's small size might seem to justify, very little has been written which attempts to link the government's cultural policies with any artistic practice. As a country that is increasingly being held up as a developmental model for other Asian nations, Singapore's relationship with its arts and culture demands scrutiny. Using Singapore's vibrant, English-language theatre as a lens, William Peterson examines the cultural implications of the much-celebrated Singapore model of political, economic and social development.

The author begins by providing a framework for the understanding of the government's role in creating arts policy. Peterson then explores the "discourse of crisis" in Singaporean political spheres and its effects on the theatre, Singaporean attempts to "find" and stage culture and nationhood, festivals in Singapore, Singapore's lively, indigenous musical theatre scene, and themes of interculturalism, gender, and sexual orientation in Singaporean theatre.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780819564726
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
Publication date: 08/01/2001
Pages: 306
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

William Peterson is Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts at California State University, San Bernardino. He has lived and worked in Singapore, helping to create and implement the country's first university-level Theatre Studies Program. Peterson has contributed to Contemporary Dramatists, 6th ed. (1999), Disorientations: Intercultural Theatre from an Australian Perspective (1999), and Second Chance: A Cross Cultural Theatre Casebook (1996). His articles have appeared in numerous journals, including Theatre Insight, Journal of Dramatic Theatre and Criticism, and Asian Theatre Journal.

Table of Contents

Setting the Stage
The Culture of Crisis
Staging Identity and Nationhood
Commodifying and Subduing the Body
Constructing Gender
Queering the Stage
Festival Culture
The Great Singaporean Musical
Interculturalism and the Big, Bad Other
Works Cited

What People are Saying About This

Helen Gilbert

"Fascinating. Peterson makes a convincing argument for the benefits of studying such a culture by reminding us that Singapore has been seen in both regional and international terms as a model country whose politico-cultural history may have many lessons for Western scholars. The book explores the relationships between theatre, cultural politics and social attitudes in ways that are increasingly recognized as crucial to contemporary theatre studies."
Helen Gilbert, Department of English, University of Queensland

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