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Nan­dita Di­nesh reads from The­atre & War at Teatro Paraguas

Stages of un­rest

Nan­dita Di­nesh is a fac­ulty mem­ber at the United World Col­lege’s Bar­tos In­sti­tute for Con­struc­tive En­gage­ment of Con­flict in Mon­tezuma, New Mex­ico, where her area of teach­ing and re­search is theater in war and con­flict zones. She be­lieves that peace and com­mu­ni­ca­tion can be fos­tered via the­atri­cal ex­er­cises and per­for­mances that give voice to the daily strug­gles, alien­ation, and hopes of pop­u­la­tions af­fected by the con­tin­ual threat of violence. Her re­cent book The­atre and War: Notes from the Field (Open Book Pub­lish­ers), an ethno­graphic study of her ef­forts in North­ern Ire­land, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Na­ga­land, and Kash­mir — meant espe­cially for those in­ter­ested in this work — in­cludes in­for­ma­tion on her suc­cesses and fail­ures in us­ing com­mu­nity theater as a tool for so­cial jus­tice.

Di­nesh be­gan per­form­ing in lo­cal pro­duc­tions as a child and ma­jored in theater as an un­der­grad­u­ate. Her in­ter­est in theater in con­flict zones was stim­u­lated in 2005 dur­ing a three-month studyabroad pro­gram in north­ern Uganda, a location she did not re­al­ize was at war un­til she ar­rived — ig­no­rance she some­what shame­fully at­tributes to youth­ful naiveté. Her sta­tus as an out­sider com­ing in to do good works is what led her to in­clude her­self in the nar­ra­tive of The­atre and War, rather than eras­ing her own sub­jec­tiv­ity from her ac­counts, be­cause “the ‘I’ has been an un­avoid­able com­po­nent in my at­tempts to un­ravel the com­plex­i­ties of re­search­ing and prac­tic­ing theater in times and places of war,” she writes. She is aware that she is able to leave a war zone when it gets too danger­ous, whereas many of the ac­tors she works with do not.

Di­nesh reads from The­atre and War in a free pre­sen­ta­tion at Teatro Paraguas Stu­dios (3205 Calle Marie, 505-424-1601) on Sun­day, Nov. 27, at 6 p.m. — J.L.

Nan­dita Di­nesh

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