Narratives of Success, Narratives of Failure: the creation and collapse of Sistren's 'aesthetic space'

Full text for this resource is not available from the Research Repository.

Smith, Karina (2008) Narratives of Success, Narratives of Failure: the creation and collapse of Sistren's 'aesthetic space'. Modern Drama, 51 (2). pp. 234-258. ISSN 0026-7694


This essay looks at the way Jamaican Sistren Theatre Collective’s work and public image were shaped during the 1970s and 1980s to meet the needs of political and development agency agendas. During the Democratic Socialist Manley government’s eight years in office (1972–80), community groups such as Sistren were encouraged by the government to establish ‘‘aesthetic spaces,’’ to quote Augusto Boal, in which the oppression experienced by disadvantaged Jamaicans could be discussed and theatricalized. With the change of government in 1980, support for community-development projects waned and pressure was placed on Sistren to find external avenues of funding, invariably from development agencies. Under the weight of development-agency demands, among them the establishing of a business enterprise to achieve ‘‘self-sufficiency,’’ Sistren’s ‘‘aesthetic space’’ collapsed. Sistren Theatre Collective, then, can be read as both a narrative of success and one of failure.

Item type Article
Official URL
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Communication and the Arts
Historical > FOR Classification > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Historical > SEO Classification > 9501 Arts and Leisure
Keywords ResPubID15293, Sistren Theatre Collective, "aesthetic space", Democratic Socialism, "cultural agents", development agencies
Citations in Scopus 5 - View on Scopus
Download/View statistics View download statistics for this item

Search Google Scholar

Repository staff login