Reimagining the Wheel: The Implications of Cultural Diversity for Mainstream Theatre Programming in Australia
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Profound demographic shifts in Australia's population are raising fundamental questions about how we reimagine the practices of our mainstream cultural institutions. The ability and the willingness of these institutions to reconceptualize their work in ways that encompass a diversity of traditions and tastes are critical. The paper draws on Pierre Bourdieu's notions of distinctions and taste to examine the influence of cultural identification on the choices that young people make about attending live theatre. The paper includes findings from a large Australian study, TheatreSpace, which examined why young people chose to engage or not to engage with theatre. In New South Wales nearly 40 per cent of the 726 young participants spoke a language other than English at home. Most were attending with their schools, many with no history of family attendance. This paper highlights significant issues about cultural relevance, accessibility and the often unintended challenges and confrontations that theatre can present to young first-generation Australians.
Theatre Research International
Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy