What is Deposited in the Mother Tongue: Making Theatre in Displacement

By Mammad Aidani.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper explains how the collective collaboration of a group of migrants and refugees allowed them to explore their perceptions of self, belonging, and social and cultural connectivity and memory through the play ‘Remembering the Cherry Tree’. I will explain how this community theatre project engaged the participants to discover and develop their own understandings of the work and incorporated their understandings about lived experiences of identity, isolation, memory, stigmatization, racism, harmony, and hope. Furthermore, I will discuss how the production of the play in Persian to a largely mixed Iranian and non Iranian speaking audience was used as a platform for engaging the artists, the Persian community as well as the wider community to open a conversation about how they perceived themselves , how they are perceived by others and co-exist in the society. An art project such as this play I argue can assist us to talk more freely and comfortably about these issues.

Keywords: Theatre, Performance, Witnessing, Remembering, Meaning, Mother Tongue, Others, Discovering, Hope

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp.273-284. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.154MB).

Dr. Mammad Aidani

Research Fellow, School of Historical Studies, Australian Centre., The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Dr. Mammad Aidani is an interdisciplinary scholar based in the School of Historical Studies at the University of Melbourne. He is also a theatre practitioner. His research examines the cultural meanings attached to suffering and the types of identities and modes of belonging that shape the local world of diasporas. His works in the past decade concentrated on diaspora communities experiencing trauma and the use of performing arts as a medium to address the trauma of violence. He has worked with many marginalised groups: socially and economically disadvantage families, migrants, refugees, and young people, in producing performances where individuals and groups, can tell their stories without shame. In 2004 he worked as a researcher in the Department of Social Sciences at Lancaster University, UK. He produced a research report on South Asian youth and notions of belonging and identity in North-West England. In 2007 his play, Mother Dust, was performed at Contact theatre, Manchester, UK. His play Remembering the Cherry Tree was performed in 2007 at the Carlton Courthouse theatre; La Mama, Melbourne, Australia. His forthcoming book Displacement: Identity and belonging amongst Iranian Diaspora .will be published in May 2010, by Common Grand Publisher.

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