The Politics of Innocence in Contemporary Theatre about Refugees
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This chapter examines two theatrical productions about refugees, both produced in Australia, where since 2001 theatre-makers have responded persistently and passionately to the nation’s extraordinary asylum and immigration policies. The cornerstone of these policies, the mandatory, indefinite imprisonment of all unauthorized or ‘illegal’ asylum seekers, sets up the context for the chapter’s probing of a ‘politics of innocence’. The discussion identifies the way extrajudicially detained non-citizens activate neither a legal presumption of innocence (in that they are not charged with a crime) nor a civic pre-emptive presumption of non-innocence (in that they do not participate in civic life). This exceptional situation, it is argued, determines and delimits to a significant extent the moral tone of theatre-making in Australia engaged with refugees.
KeywordsRefugees Asylum seekers Innocence Law Illegality Belief Theatre
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