Re-writing Portuguese recent colonial history through postcolonial documentary theatre

  • André Manuel Rodrigues Havlícek Amálio

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This practice-based research worked through recent Portuguese colonial past, via a theatre practice defined as postcolonial documentary theatre. This investigation was conducted using the methodologies of oral history and archival research that were combined with performance making strategies in order to analyse Portuguese colonial memory under the framework of postcolonialism. Many traces of the Portuguese colonial ideology remained intact in Portuguese society, particularly the narrative of the Portuguese as “good coloniser” and this postcolonial documentary theatre aims at making politically engaged work that unpacks and exposes these issues.

    This past has been silenced by Portuguese authorities that have kept a colonial history in the public discourse and education system that glorified the Imperial past not acknowledging the oppression committed to the colonised people. The alternative views of this past always remained in the margins of Portuguese society. There has been a recent surge in Portuguese society from the part of academics, artists and activists that is bringing this discussion from the margins to the average Portuguese citizen. This research is taking part in this movement, using postcolonial documentary theatre to rethink this past. It produced three performances, that premiered in Lisbon and are touring in Portugal and abroad: Portugal não é um país pequeno (2015) (Portugal is nota small country), Passa-Porte (2016) (Passport) and Libertação (2017) (Liberation).

    The performance work that came out of this research has contributed to the re-writing of history and worked towards memory transmission, by opening the debate around these issues in Portuguese society. The research also uses postcolonial documentary theatre to claim for social change, particularly from Portuguese officials to review their position on colonial history, how it is taught in schools, how it is described in history books, but also the colonial thinking that is still present in Portuguese society.
    Date of Award18 Oct 2018
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SponsorsGulbenkian Foundation & Gestão dos Direitos dos Artistas
    SupervisorIoana Szeman (Supervisor) & Joe Kelleher (Supervisor)

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