Claire French: Towards translingual praxis: departures from monolingual facilitation

This paper presents interdisciplinary research that draws from discourse in sociolinguistics to problematise uncritical language-based paradigms.

This paper presents interdisciplinary research that draws from discourse in sociolinguistics to problematise uncritical language-based paradigms inherited by facilitators of applied performance praxis, focusing on the monolingual orientation. I use recent multilingual South African performance devising examples to highlight potential departures from facilitating monolingually. My approach rests on ‘change’ being central to the aims of applied performance praxis, and for as long as praxis involves language, facilitators must grapple with questions around what, how and why languages, particularly minority languages, are absent from this change. I analyse language ideologies, defined as socially shared beliefs about language(s), to emphasise how certain English-only hegemonies are perpetuated through monolingual praxis. I posit translingual praxis as one of the theoretical and methodological approaches to incorporating participants’ vast language repertoires into both performance processes and outcomes, and make links with indigenous language speakers of the Global South for whom this conversation is salient.

Claire French is currently a Commonwealth Scholar and PhD candidate at the School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Studies and the Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick. She is researching at the intersections of language ideology and performance to extrapolate on communicative practices in performance devising processes involving linguistic minorities. In the past decade, Claire has lived and worked in the UK, Germany and Australia as a facilitator for various applied theatre projects as well as a dramaturg and producer for performances situated at the boundaries of the field. Key praxis areas have included documentary performance with refugees, intergenerational community groups and professional actors. She has an MA with distinction from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Tegan Arazny (Facilitator & Documenter)
Tegan is a strong advocate for the development of Theatre and the Arts in community settings and has been involved with numerous Applied Theatre programmes throughout her professional training and experience. Tegan graduated with a Master of Arts with Distinction in Applied Theatre from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She has professional experience in Community Performance that engages young people in contemporary social issues. Tegan has also collaborated and performed with award-winning theatre company PuppetSoup to deliver puppetry workshops and tour their new bilingual show, ‘Arthur the Bear King’, to rural and socially deprived areas of Wales. Tegan is currently working with The Blue Datto Foundation as a Project Coordinator to expand and develop their interactive road safety education program to young people and communities throughout New South Wales, Australia.