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Queering Brechtian feminism: Breaking down gender binaries in musical theatre pedagogical performance practices

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This article explores how musical theatre pedagogy might begin to dismantle modes of practice that perpetuate exclusion and a dualistic, gendered perspective. I draw on my experience of directing postgraduate musical theatre students at Mountview in a production of Pippin (1972). Casting a trans man as Pippin ‐ in many respects an archetypal male hero role ‐ set in motion a process of queering and subverting norms. However, casting is only one element of creating an inclusive practice: in this work, I developed a hybrid approach that honoured students’ identities and experiences and took a critical, political view of the material being presented. My approach brings together Elin Diamond’s feminist theoretical framing of Brecht with queer concepts including heteronormativity and chrononormativity, which are then applied to David Barnett’s practical explanation of a Brechtian process. I argue that feminist and queer approaches can work together to meaningfully critique hegemonic forces influencing musical theatre training and production processes.
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Keywords: Brecht; Fabel; chrononormativity; feminist pedagogy; gender binaries; heteronormativity; musical theatre

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2018

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