City Research Online

Performing Urban Violence: Protest Theatre and Semi-Public Space in London and Cape Town

Davies, D. ORCID: 0000-0002-3584-5789 (2018). Performing Urban Violence: Protest Theatre and Semi-Public Space in London and Cape Town. Theatre Topics, 28(2), pp. 89-100. doi: 10.1353/tt.2018.0018


This article offers an account of two case studies of theatrical performance from London and Cape Town, both of which raise and interrogate the inter-related concepts of protest theatre and public space. A production of Tunde Euba’s play Brothers, by the Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theater (GLYPT) in London (2013/14), and the contemporaneous theatrical work and awareness-raising campaigns of the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) in Cape Town, both use theatrical performance to question, diagnose and protest multiple forms of violence perpetrated against marginalized urban populations, often at the hands of the state. In twenty-first-century neoliberal cities such as London and Cape Town, government and private forces collude to privatize their once public spaces, thus encroaching upon—if not entirely disappearing—venues that might be used for protesting against such forms of violence (see Garrett).i Meanwhile, those public spaces that do remain are, in the ongoing era of the “War on Terror,” increasingly subject to militarized policing strategies that place increased restrictions on large assemblies and free movement within cities, “particularly for members of darker-skinned groups” (Marcuse 264).

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © Johns Hopkins University Press
Subjects: P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > English, Publishing & Creative Writing
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