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Lonneke van Heugten

Theatre as a vortex of
behaviour in Dutch
multicultural society

A discourse analysis of "Aïsha" in the public sphere

ISBN 978-3-8288-3122-3
98 Seiten, Paperback
Tectum Verlag 2013
24,95 €
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Theatre as a vortex of behaviour in Dutch multicultural society


In 2001, a music theatre production exploring Islam’s early history from a female perspective was shut down before it reached the stage. The cancellation of Aïsha and the Women of Madina by Rotterdam’s Independent Theatre (O.T.) generated a media storm as speculations about censorship mounted. To unravel this performative non-event, this dissertation consolidates cultural analysis, discourse analysis and actor-network theory in an interdisciplinary approach. The cancellation exposed the theatre as an arena of conflict where issues of multiculturalism and freedom of speech collided well before the major events of 9/11 and the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh.

Theatre as a Vortex of Behaviour won the first national Theatre Thesis Prize awarded by the Theatre Institute Netherlands (2011). The jury: “[Van Heugten] unravels the complex weaving of actions and reactions that revealed feelings of unrest in all their rawness and exposed open wounds. Critically and idealistically the author places the theatre maker at the centre of society. A must-read for whoever thinks that he knows ‘the other’.”

“On many levels, Lonneke van Heugten has written an extraordinary dissertation.”
(Prof. Dr. Kati Röttger, University of Amsterdam and Prof. Dr. Janelle Reinelt, University of Warwick)

  • After obtaining an MA in Arts and Culture at Maastricht University, Lonneke van Heugten completed the MA International Performance Research with distinction at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Warwick. In the theatre, she worked as producer, marketing manager and dramaturge. She is currently writing her PhD at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis.