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Clare Summerskill publishes research on asylum seekers and verbatim theatre

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Clare Summerskill publishes research on asylum seekers and verbatim theatre

  • Date28 July 2018

Clare Summerskill, who is in her final year of study for a PhD in the Department, has recently had an article published in RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance.


Claire Summerskill

The title of her article is ‘The importance of being gay: the perils and possibilities of LGBTI asylum seekers’ involvement in Rights of Passage’. Rights of Passage is the title of a verbatim play which she wrote and toured nationally with her theatre company, Artemis, based on interviews with lesbian and gay asylum seekers in the UK. 

In order to claim asylum in the UK, lesbians and gay men are required to ‘prove’ their sexual orientation during an interview, demonstrating the dangers that their sexuality poses for them in their countries of origin. Clare’s article discusses how playwrights who create verbatim theatre addressing LGBTI asylum issues will also interview contributors eliciting personal testimony, and such work may mirror or retrigger some of the more traumatic aspects of previous interviews. Focusing on Rights of Passage, it examines how the positionality of the playwright/interviewer and the identity of the audience can refigure the ethical terrain of verbatim theatre processes.

Clare’s doctoral research addresses the role, value and experience of a contributor to a piece of verbatim theatre. Her work also examines previously unexplored connections between oral history and verbatim theatre. 

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