SOAS University of London

Reflections for SOAS from Bhuchar Boulevard

21 February 2019

The creative team spent several weeks interviewing people from the SOAS community (academics, students, alumni) and Decolonisation: not just a buzzword... was crafted from the edited interviews and performed as a headphone verbatim theatre piece on 7/8th Feb with a panel discussion on both nights. We are heartened by the response and affirmation that verbatim was a great way to bring all the captured campus conversations into one public space so that people can ‘speak to each other’ through their recorded words. There was much debate afterwards and many of the interviewees expressed how powerful it was to see themselves reflected through the conduit of the actors’ performances. As the piece is currently ‘SOAS specific’ and uses this as a microcosm for the wider conversations that are taking place, it was great to see the SOAS audiences ‘seeing themselves’ and the laughter of recognition and appreciation that SOAS is a place that enables conflicting and contested view points to be shared. At the same time, people from outside the SOAS community expressed how the ‘specificity’ enabled them to think about decolonisation within their own areas and practice e.g. in conservatoire drama training, therapy and radio drama. This process has made us think about how to be more reflexive in our practice and our own personal experiences of how to decolonise. We look forward to the next stage of this collaboration.