• Elin Nicholson

Student thesis: Phd


This study examines Palestinian theatre practices in the West Bank and East Jerusalem within their spatial contexts, analysing how theatre responds to its geopolitical environment as an act of cultural resistance. It argues that space in Palestine is not monolithic, and is subjected to three main structural forces - the Israeli military occupation, international neoliberal humanitarian regime and the Palestinian Authority - which influence Palestinian space at different levels depending on the specific location. As there are multiple spaces in Palestine, I use a number of complementary theories to explain each site, utilizing Sari Hanafi's composite theoretical framework of 'spacio-cide' as an 'umbrella' theory, the different components of which are applied to the relevant space whilst bearing in mind its overall conceptualisation. I suggest that the 'urbicidal' policies of the Israeli military executed during the second intifada is no longer a relevant theoretical framework, particularly for the main urban sites; however, contentious areas exist in a 'post-urbicidal' state. I argue that Palestinian theatre practices respond to the particular spatial condition in which it is being performed.I analyse three particular spaces in Palestine: the mainstream non-refugee urban space which is under the international humanitarian regime; the refugee camp located within the 'state of exception'; and the site of extreme contention, which is located at the peripheries of Palestine, and which is being subjected to 'post-urbicidal' actions by the Israelis. I examine a number of plays and theatre practices in relation to these spaces, to argue that Palestinian cultural resistance through theatre is a tactic through which Palestinians can challenge the conditions under which they live, whilst promoting the continuation of non-violent resistance and Palestinian culture.
Date of Award31 Dec 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJennifer Hughes (Supervisor)


  • Middle East
  • Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
  • Theatre
  • Palestine

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