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Processing the Peace: An Interview with Teya Sepinuck

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In this interview, Teya Sepinuck, the Artistic Director of Theatre of Witness reflects not only on her first two projects in Northern Ireland, but also vividly illustrates her way of working by evoking seminal moments in her previous practice. Although, she has resisted attempts to systematise the Theatre of Witness process, preferring to see it as a set of principles rather than a fixed methodology, these principles have given rise to clear guidelines that have come to govern the process through which she works. As the interview illustrates, Sepinuck, a Jewish Buddhist, has no hesitation in explaining her approach within the framework of a humanist ‘spirituality’ that explicitly deploys Judeo-Christian terminology. She invites discussion of each participant's ‘prayer-life’ and positions herself primarily as a listener rather than an interlocutor. The introduction to the interview contextualises Sepinuck's practice in relation to her previous work and other drama-based interventions in Northern Ireland. Concerns that the lack of critical distance between the tellers and their stories inhibits those who see it from freely engaging with it as they might with a fictionalised account, are also critiqued. In the interview, Sepinuck directly addresses the risk of the commodification of her work, explaining the safeguards in place to protect the participants, who have repeatedly asserted how beneficial they have found their involvement in the work to be. The sense of autonomy and empowerment that emerges from these responses represent a persuasive challenge to concerns that they are passive instruments of the Theatre of Witness process.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10.1080/10486801.2013.806323
Number of pages322
Pages (from-to)314
JournalContemporary Theatre Review
Journal publication date23 Aug 2013
Issue number3
StatePublished - 23 Aug 2013

Research areas

  • Applied Drama, Northern Ireland, Theatre of Witness, Peace Process

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