Performing National Identities: International Perspectives on Contemporary Canadian Theatre


320 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88922-485-7
DDC C812'.5409





Edited by Sherrill E. Grace and Albert-Reiner Glaap
Reviewed by David E. Kemp

David E. Kemp, a former professor of drama at Queen’s University, is
the author of The Pleasures and Treasures of the United Kingdom.


In this collection of 18 essays, scholars and drama specialists in
Canada, Great Britain, Europe, Australia, and Japan discuss how Canada
performs its national identities on the world stage. The contributors
consider many of the challenging topics addressed by contemporary
Canadian playwrights—issues of race and racist stereotypes, gender,
and violence, as well as historical events and political realities. If
there is one overriding theme shared by all the writers, it is that
contemporary Canadian theatre has a largeness of vision that enables it
to communicate and resonate with audiences all over the world; even
though they may focus on local or individual situations, Canadian
playwrights manage to transcend the provincial and explore universal

Among the book’s highlights are Martin Bowman’s essay on the
reception given in Scotland to the plays of Michel Tremblay, Jerry
Wasserman’s essay on Joan MacLeod, Yoshinari Minami’s piece on
Canadian theatre on the Japanese stage, and Alan Filewod’s analysis of
the populist movement of radical grassroots theatre, especially during
the last two decades of the 20th century. Other playwrights discussed
include Sharon Pollock, George F. Walker, Tomson Highway, Morris Panych,
and Djanet Sears. There are interviews with theatre practitioners in
Canada, Hungary, and Germany, as well as illustrations of stage

As the first in-depth analysis of international perspectives on
contemporary Canadian theatre, Performing National Identities is a
must-have for anyone interested in Canadian theatre.


“Performing National Identities: International Perspectives on Contemporary Canadian Theatre,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 17, 2024,