Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of the Arts, English and Media


From the mid-20th century, a new form of theatre emerged in Trinidad and Tobago as its playwrights came to mine the Afro-Creole Trinidadian folk milieu. This study focuses primarily on the period from the 1950s through to the contemporary moment, investigating how Trinidad’s theatrical practitioners developed methodologies that formulated an indigenous theatre. In its creation, it would distance itself from Western forms as the stage was decolonized, making way for a variety of new forms that mimetically reflect the reality of Trinidad’s Afro-Creole folk. Establishing a premise on which the term folk and indigenous have been shaped by Trinidad’s socio-historical past, an argument is developed, which posits how Trinidad’s African cultural retentions form a central basis on which a theatrical tradition was established. Tracing the historical impetus and driving forces that gave rise to a body of writers, the nexus between the production of drama and the search for identity in the immediacy of the postcolonial period is established. Developing a structure that forms three lines of discrete research: folk expression, women, their portrayal and their emergence as theatrical practitioners, and theatrical developments through the decades, these subject areas are examined through the work of a broad body of playwrights. Explicating their theory and praxis, their work is described in terms of evincing a variety of genres, with tropes that have become indelible resources for theatrical practitioners to draw from. With a theatrical base that extends from popular comedy to avant-garde spiritual works, the theatre today represents a composite entity that accommodates a plurality of forms, which in their summation, express the breadth and depth of a theatrical journey still very much underway.

FoR codes (2008)

190404 Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, 200211 Postcolonial Studies, 200508 Other Literatures in English

This thesis is unavailable until Sunday, May 18, 2025



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.