Australasia: Mapping a Theatrical 'Region' in Peace and War


  • Veronica Kelly University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia



In specific times and places, theatrical touring 'maps' can exceed national borders and create their own local and trans-national networks and centres. The term 'regions' is preferred here to identify activity situated across and within the fluctuating outlines of nation states or empires, and capable of ignoring their boundaries. National theatrical activities are read as particular sites, but not necessarily centres, within the expanded and fluid cosmopolitanism enabled by modernity's technologies and communication networks. '˜Regions' are adaptive, virtual, spatially and temporally elastic and strategically flexible: those constructed by dramatic activity may also differ from those of non-language-dependent or skills-based genres. Such regions, constructed during times of imperial expansion, are significantly reconfigured by global war. The Australasian region 1840s-1940s displays relatively stable political borders along with rapid extra- and intra-territorial expansions and contractions of its theatrical footprints, and is given as an example of the many interwoven 'regions' created by dynamic theatrical globalisation.