Monash University

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The Temple Gateway Model and transcultural passage: conditions of disempowerment and disorientation in the staging and reception of cultural identities.

posted on 2017-02-26, 23:54 authored by Dandeniya, Tharanga Chinthana
The thesis examines the complex cross-cultural issues involved in performances which stage the cultural identity of one culture to another. This research responds to the question of: How might it be possible to represent a unique cultural identity in a theatrical performance and build a spectatorship in a foreign cultural space where the cultures of both performers and spectators need to encounter and manage disempowered and disoriented conditions. In examining the above question, the research project employs combined practice and theoretical research methods. Hence, this thesis contains a written component and a performance component. This research uses multiple source materials including play text, theoretical studies, audio-visual recordings, observations, interviews, questionnaires and practices. Particularly, this thesis examines established theories and models of intercultural exchange under three categories: (1) cultural definitions, practices and categorisations; (2) concepts of shared spaces; (3) models of intercultural exchange. Effective elements and concepts from these analyses serve as partial source materials to contribute to a new, more comprehensive practicable model, called the ‘Temple Gateway Model’ (TGM). The TGM is the first model that conceptualises both artistic and strategic components of participation of spectators and practitioners in cultural negotiation in cross-cultural theatrical productions. The dynamics of the cultural negotiation create a ‘transcultural passage’ through the mutual understanding of practitioners and spectators. The ‘transcultural passage’ is the overall result of the cultural engagement, which enables the overcoming of the disempowerment and disorientation of both participating parties in the cultural negotiation. The research tests the theoretical model in a performance project, development of The God King Drama text and a full-length dramatic production, as a case study. A questionnaire, which was given to the audience participating in the performances, analyses the audience engagement with the particular cultural negotiation. The thesis comprises six chapters, supplemented with multiple forms of documentation including a DVD of the performance. This PhD research project has produced a work useful for both academics and performance practitioners. The research introduces new performance concepts, creates a new performance, and a hybrid performance genre. The TGM is the conceptual outcome of the research. First, the TGM is both a theoretical analysis and a practical guide for theatre practitioners aiming to stage their cultural works for multi-ethnic and multicultural audiences in a foreign cultural space. Second, the TGM, and TGKD performance provide directions for practitioners and spectators in disempowered and disorientated conditions to negotiate their practices while sustaining their cultural identity. Third, the TGM could also be employed within a country where different cultural practices, social customs, or geographical distances lead to internal cultural differences. Fourth, this model is applicable in different situations and open for multiple interpretations dependent of specific encounters and exchanges. Additional material(s) submitted with thesis.


Principal supervisor

Stuart Grant

Additional supervisor 1

William Peterson

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Theatre and Performance


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type


Campus location



Faculty of Arts