Oladipo ‘Dipo’ Agboluaje studied Theatre Arts at the University of Benin, and Literature Representation and Modernity at London Metropolitan University. He received his PhD in African Drama from Open University. He is a playwright and creative writing workshop facilitator. Agboluaje is an associate lecturer in Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is assistant general secretary of the African Theatre Association, an organization committed to the development of research and practice in African theatre. He is a member of the Fence, a pan-European network of theatre practitioners whose aim is to discover new approaches to interrogating contemporary European theatre practice. Through his plays Agboluaje has interrogated the notions of home, identity and diaspora, nationalism and culture. Agboluaje’s published plays include Early Morning, The Christ of Coldharbour Lane, The Estate and New Nigerians.
I propose to interrogate the role of the dramaturg in developing work by playwrights of diverse backgrounds in the UK.
Most of the dramaturgs during and after the growth of new writing in the 1990s are white and so, as a starting point, I ask the question: in a multicultural environment, what is the dramaturg’s role in developing a script by a writer of a different cultural background, where the story is set in the writer’s culture/community? By so doing I shall problematize the roles played by Asian and black-British playwrights and the dramaturg in the theatre-making process by interrogating ideas underpinning identity, multiculturalism, performance and audience reception to see how they affect the development of the script as text in British theatre production. I shall also generally interrogate key concepts such as multiculturalism, nationality, identity, representation, universality and authenticity. By interrogating these terms, I shall determine the tensions that exist between not only the practitioners as individuals but also the tensions between practitioners and institutions as they apply to making diverse work. This interrogation takes place in the knowledge that the role of the dramaturg in British theatre is limited to script development when compared with their European counterparts.