A dramaturgical approach currently being developed and practiced by theatre artist and dramaturge Sadie Berlin. This approach aims to create a higher quality of theatre by focusing on cultural intimacy, specificity, and authenticity for every performance. Although Berlin did not invent the idea of cultural dramaturgy, she has effectively outlined the goals and steps needed to authentically produce plays outside of the Eurocentric Western canon. Berlin outlines three components to cultural dramaturgy: the aesthetic, the political, and the humane. This approach suggests that when a company is producing a culturally specific play or a play that portrays members of a particular community, people from that culture or community need to be in the room and involved in the process from the beginning. If no one on the original team is a part of the culture being portrayed, a cultural consultant should be brought in to work alongside the dramaturge for the duration of the process. By ensuring that specific cultural voices have power and agency through the production process, a safe, supportive environment can be fostered where potentially difficult material can be worked through with as little apprehension or harm as possible. For more, please see Berlin, Old Heads Podcast.
Sources and Further Reading:
“Cultural Dramaturgy.” Old Heads Podcast from Podbay, 17 July 2020, www.podbay.fm/p/old-heads/e/1594960816.
Berlin, Sadie. “Outcast: Limits and Possibilities in Casting Black Performers in the Age of Granular Dramaturgy.” Canadian Theatre Review, vol. 193, Winter 2023. In Publication.
Berlin, Sadie. “Speaker Series with Sadie Berlin.” York University, 18 Jan. 2021, Zoom.