|dc.description.abstract||This dissertation explores the role performance in museums might play through encouraging
multivocality in the depiction and exploration of historical narratives in post-apartheid South
Africa. The research is situated within the discipline of drama and performance studies, and
focuses specifically on performing history in museums.
In conducting this research, a case study approach has been adopted to examine the process of
creating museum theatre. The main focus is on the self-devised, Performance-as-Research
project, Our Footprints, performed in the Bergtheil Museum in Durban. Three other examples
of museum theatre are considered, namely Brett Bailey‟s Exhibits A and B (2012 & 2013), This
Accursed Thing (Jackson & Kidd, 2007) and the Triangle presentation (Talbot & Andrews,
2008). These examples are used to explore how performance can be employed alongside the
traditional archive to bring history „to life‟ in museums.
The theoretical component of this dissertation examines the manner in which performance and
historical narratives are framed – using Erving Goffman‟s (1975) frame analysis. In addition, it
considers how multiple perspectives can be promoted in museums through performance – using
aspects of Mikhail Bakhtin‟s (1981/1994) theory of heteroglossia. The pre-existing case studies
noted above offer different approaches and techniques for making museum theatre which link to
these theoretical ideas. Similar concepts are then explored in Our Footprints.
Museum theatre uses performance in sites that deal with historical narratives and artefacts torecreate‟ the past through action. This study explores how offering the audience the opportunity
„physically‟ to experience the past through „participating‟ in performance, and connecting
history to their personal lives and memories, creates possibilities for learning about,
experiencing and remembering the past.
Through this study I contribute to the body of knowledge in drama and performance studies and
museum studies by exploring the potential of museum theatre in post-apartheid South Africa to
bring different – and, sometimes dissenting – historical narratives, into contact with one
another, thus promoting dialogue through performance. Our Footprints is an original
production in a new area of drama that investigates performance‟s role in exploring the past in