Kabi Thulo

Kabi Thulo

Interweaving Performance Cultures

Doctoral Candidate 2016/17

Kabi Thulo is a trained theatre practitioner in the field acting and directing. His educational journey in the discipline of drama and the theatre arts as a practitioner-scholar started in 2001 and spans South Africa’s University of the Free State; University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Cape Town. Thulo is a traditional healer of Sotho origin, who is currently pursuing his PhD at the University of Cape Town under the supervision of Professor Mark Fleishman. His broad areas of interest are performance studies and the methodology of Performance as Research. Thus, his academic research and professional practice are focused on devised theatre performance projects, both as a director and performer. Thulo is currently a lecturer at South Africa’s Tshwane University of Technology’s Drama and Film Department, where he teaches acting techniques and directing studies across the Diploma and B-Tech Drama qualifications.    

Research Project

The [un]knowing director: a critical examination of directing practice within the context of collaborative devised performance 

This PhD study aims to critically examine directing practice primarily within the particular context of devised performance and not in the existing orthodox context of play directing. The study’s intention is to provide an explication of the experiential intricacies of what directing practice entails within the context of devised performance in relation to its specific notion of the [un]knowing director. Such an intention is derived from this study’s objective of answering its research questions, (a) what is an [un]knowing director?; and (b) what poetics/theory of theatre directing can be derived from the practice of an [un]knowing director?

In terms of its rationale, I have noticed that there is scholarly literature that indicates Africa’s rich history of performance practice. Also, there is an existing body of literature that specifically deals with devising performance practice within the context of Southern Africa. However, such texts, in addition to others, do not directly and explicitly engage with directing practice within the context of devising performance, which is my proposed focus in this study. Besides Pearce (1998), Barnes (2005), Durden & Twijnstra (2014), Lejowa (2010), the 2006 South African Theatre Journal vol. (20) that solely focused on South African directors and directing practice, I have so far found no other scholarly texts that give a detailed account of directing practice within the context of performance devising from an African perspective.

Recommended Readings

  • Bannerman, C. in Bannerman, C. et al (eds.). Navigating the Unknown: The creative process in contemporary performing arts. London. Middlesex University Press. 2006.
  • Ingold, T. Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description. London and New York. Routledge. 2011.
  • Thulo, K. Towards a conceptual perspective of Performance as Research through the [un]knowing director. Pretoria. Unpublished book chapter. 2016.  
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