Countercolonising the stage
: a syncretic dramaturgy for devising

  • Flavia Domingues D'Avila

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


This inquiry proposes a process for creating intercultural theatre collaboratively: a Syncretic Dramaturgy for Devising (SDD), conceptualised by reviewing established frameworks and reflecting on my lived experience and praxis. This study and its outcomes expand understandings of extant scholarship and practice hitherto focused on text-based syncretic theatre. Additionally, it foregrounds a novel, countercolonial approach to researching contemporary New Intercultural Theatre made in a formerly colonising country.

This submission builds on Michel de Certeau’s (1984) distinction between maps and itineraries, thus mapping the development of the SDD and providing a critical reflexive account of its realisation in practice. The SDD is the key outcome of this research and will be available as a tool for theatre makers with an interest in devising intercultural theatre that avoids theatrical exoticism. The Syncretic Theatre Lab (STL) constitutes a second key outcome of this research, comprising workshops held in Glasgow and Edinburgh between February and April 2018. The written thesis, Volume I, provides context, discusses how the SDD was developed, reflects on the practice, and contrapuntally evaluates the study in relation to extant literature and hegemonic theatre practices. Volume II is a website-portfolio documenting the practice component of the research, which can be read in a linear or non-linear way, in alignment with De Certeau’s idea of different trajectories.

Anna Fenemore’s (2012) four processes for devised performance practice are adapted into an original research apparatus facilitating the implementation of the hybrid methodology designed for this study: Practice-as-Research inflected with Autoethnography. Drawing on Christopher Balme’s (1999) systematic analysis of syncretic plays, the actors’ Cultural Texts were used as stimuli for devising in the STL. A narrative analysis details the formulation of the SDD, identifying the operations within the process and framing Syncretic Theatre as a dramaturgical form and theatremaking method as well as onstage representation.
Date of Award13 Jun 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorLaura González (Supervisor), Laurelann Porter (Supervisor) & Anna Birch (Supervisor)


  • Syncretic theatre
  • Cultural hybridity
  • Map
  • Itinerary
  • Countercolonialism
  • Dramaturgy
  • Devising
  • Autoethnography
  • Practice-as-research

Access Status

  • Full text open

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