Introduction: Theatre and Politics in Turkey and Its Diasporas


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

The idea for this special issue grew out of our concerns as scholars, teachers, audiences, and theatre-makers during a time of ever-intensifying autocracy in Turkey. The oppressive sociopolitical environment under the economically neoliberal, socially conservative, and Sunni Islamist governments of the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party), hereafter AKP, has deeply affected all aspects of theatre. Censorship and self-censorship have intensified; the distribution of public funds lacks transparency; a number of venues have been demolished while the emerging theatre spaces have served neoliberalism and gentrification; migration and recession have changed the audience profile; a number of theatre professionals and scholars have been dismissed or persecuted while others have had to leave the country for political reasons; and the control over the press and the academia affects the production and dissemination of scholarship as well as criticism. Curiously, the dynamics of oppression have not simply curtailed artistic production. On the contrary, against all odds, independent companies flourish, especially in metropolitan centers, and minoritarian cultural producers are perhaps more active than ever. As such, theatre serves as a critical venue where artists and audiences resurrect silenced histories, build communities, negotiate the politics of subjectivity and belonging, and explore alternative visions for the future amidst constant political tension and violence.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.