Staging legitimacy: theorising identity claims in anti-homophobia Theatre-in-Education

Stephen Matthew Greer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper offers a queer-theory inflected reading of identity practices in British Theatre-in-Education (TIE) work seeking to address sexual identity and, more specifically, homophobic bullying. Noting the potentially unmarked or socially invisible quality of queer identities, this discussion seeks to reconsider the status of 'coming out' as the primary formative narrative of gay subjects, and draws on Peggy Phelan's critique of visibility to examine the tensions between performance work which offers opportunities for public identification and the competing (legal and ethical) expectations of confidentiality and disclosure within educational settings. As such, this re-examination of the closet is read within the context of a wider British cultural and political landscape - recognising both efforts to directly address the issue of homophobic bullying, and the persistence of cultural anxieties about the supposed 'promotion' of homosexuality to the young. In response to those concerns, the paper draws together readings of recent TIE works - the Spare Tyre Theatre Company's Burning (2006) and Robert Higgs' Gay (2007) - with Stonewall's current Education for All campaign to explore performance representations of identity and identification, before suggesting - through the work of Judith Butler and Alexander Duttmann - the possibilities of a fluid relationship between recognition, legitimacy and cultural visibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-74
Number of pages20
JournalResearch in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2011

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