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Hope, performative diversity and re-production: Hamilton and COVID-era politics

Courtis, S., Merchant, M.ORCID: 0000-0003-0923-1561 and Sears, E. (2022) Hope, performative diversity and re-production: Hamilton and COVID-era politics. Journal of Intercultural Studies . pp. 1-19.

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, theatres around the world closed and performances moved online. Consequently, when the musical Hamilton opened in March 2021 in Australia, it was the only version of the show being performed live on stage anywhere in the world and was marketed as a ‘beacon of hope’ for the performing arts industry [Crompton, S. 2017, Francis, L., and Ky, J. 2021, Millar, L. 2021]. Hamilton’s story is based on White American grand narratives such as the War of Independence, nation building and a ‘bootstraps’ mentality, which have traditionally excluded persons of colour; however, the musical primarily features Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) performers. After its debut in the US, Hamilton was praised for its diverse storytelling [Clark, J. 2015. Gardner, E. 2015, Quinn, D. 2015.] and this narrative has been repeated for the Australian re-production. Through the lens of racial neoliberal inclusion, this paper explores the COVID-era Australian re-production of Hamilton, interrogating how diversity is performed and the impact the global pandemic has had on these performances. However, while the internal message of the show remains problematic, the depth brought by Indigenous performers in particular, marks a shift in Australian theatre culture.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Creative Media, Arts and Design
Publisher: River Seine Publications
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