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'The politics of design' in community theatre circles : a comparative analysis of the creative design processes employed by Intuba Arts Development in Tears of Death (2013) and Bambelela Arts Ensemble in Just Because (1999; 2013)

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This dissertation positions the ‘politics of design’ at the centre of scenographic practice within the community theatre circles. The dissertation argues that the understanding of the ‘politics of design’ enables community theatre groups to develop designs that serve the specific needs and objectives of their productions. This dissertation hypothesizes that the practice of scenography by community theatre groups can be enhanced and enriched through mastering the politics of design. Mastering the politics of design enables theatre practitioners to understand design theory, apply it in practice and use the design terminology correctly. The dissertation has two components: the creative project and the theoretical reflex paper. The creative project is made up of two productions: Tears of Death (2013) by Intuba Arts Development and Just Because (1999; 2013) by Bambelela Arts Ensemble. The main performance of Tears of Death was at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown from the 27th of June and 7th of July 2013 while that of Just Because by Bambelela Arts Ensemble was presented on 20th and 22nd of August 2013 in Bulawayo. The reflection paper will focus on documenting and comparatively analysing the design processes, approaches, influences and the “politics of design” (Quesenbury 2004: 2) at play within the community theatre group case studies.


Master of Arts in Drama and Performance Studies.


Community theater -- South Africa., Theater and society -- South Africa., Theaters -- Stage-setting and scenery., Theses -- Drama and performance studies., Intuba Arts Development., Bambelela Arts Ensemble.