The Intracultural Actor: Embracing Difference in Theatre Arts Teaching

Chris Hay, Kristine Landon-Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Embracing difference in theatre arts teaching and training requires pedagogical as well as philosophical adjustments in classrooms and rehearsal rooms. We propose that the unique cultural context of the individual actor is a rich hinterland for discovery and source of power for the student, and outline our intracultural training practice as a starting point for teachers and trainers seeking to engage with cultural and linguistic diversity. The argument of this chapter is divided into three sections. In the first, we consider the insidious impact of "neutrality" (and its synonyms) on actor training. Theatre arts training too often enables the erasure of difference through predicating teaching and learning on an imagined sameness across our student body. We argue that teachers and trainers must instead acknowledge that this sameness is determined by the hegemonic cultural power, and can therefore be wielded as an exclusionary device against students of diverse identities and diasporic heritages. The second section introduces an intracultural training practice: it first summarizes the ideas that have informed the development of our practice, and then sets out its main principles. In the final section of the chapter, we provide some practical suggestions of exercises and activities to begin implementing intracultural practice in class and rehearsal rooms. Across the chapter, our focus is on how our practice can be implemented by others, with specific reference to actor training.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Directions in Teaching Theatre Arts
EditorsAnne Fliotsos, Gail S. Medford
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783319897677
ISBN (Print)9783319897660
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Theatre Arts
  • Art Education Theory
  • Diasporic Heritage
  • Rehearsal Room
  • Excluder Devices


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