Consuming the Asian Other in Singapore: Interculturalism in TheatreWorks' Desdemona

William Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The Singaporean company TheatreWorks, under the artistic direction of Ong Keng Sen, has been responsible for the creation of a number of large-scale Asian intercultural works that have toured to international festivals from Adelaide to Hamburg. Among the best known of these are Lear and Desdemona, both of which use Shakespeare as a point of departure for new performance pieces that bring together practitioners representing a wide range of traditional and contemporary art forms. Unlike other intercultural experiments, in Lear and Desdemona practitioners stay largely within the frame of their own performance and linguistic traditions, creating a work which, especially in the case of Desdemona, is far from seamless. Using the 2000 production of Desdemona as an object of inquiry, this model of Asian intercultural production is examined against the backdrop of the politics of one's location, the troubled audience response to the work in Singapore and Adelaide, and the current state of intercultural theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-95
Number of pages17
JournalTheatre Research International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Singapore
  • TheatreWorks
  • intercultural works


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