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Thought Curfew

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Performance image of Thought Curfew by David Cotterrell. A man stands on a stage.
A photo from a theatre performance. A seated woman is holding hands with a man standing over her. She looks like she is upset. He shows little emotion. A man in the background is crouching, and appears to be aiming a gun at something out of shot.

Thought Curfew is an original performance project developed for presentation as the headline act of the Ubumuntu Festival of Culture in Kigali, Rwanda in 2018. The research undertook to explore the staged challenges to empathy that can facilitate polarisation and objectification prior to the descent into conflict.

The project developed from observations recorded during research trips undertaken by Cotterrell to Palestine, Tunisia and Sri Lanka (2017). In these locations the enquiry was iteratively articulated through paper presentations at the Palestine Performing Arts Network Internation Conference (Ramallah, Palestine), the Hammamet Conference (Hammamet, Tunisia) and GIZ Memory Space Dialogues (Colombo, Sri Lanka).

Thought Curfew was developed with support from the GCRF HEFCE fund, the Ubumuntu Festival and British Council (East Africa). It was delivered by an multinational interdisciplinary team comprising of Stages Theatre Company (Sri Lanka), Mashrika Theatre Company (Rwanda), Ron Wright (UK) and Ian Sanderson (UK). The project was produced using a hybrid methodology integrating approaches from theatre and visual art installation.

The project involved the development of an original script, collaborative devising processes and the experimental integration of live theatre and immersive projection. The resulting production was viewed by over 3000 people on its opening night. It presented an allegorical thought experiment considering the level to which awareness of risk can facilitate methodological failure within contexts of narrative formation, humanitarian care, development sector responses and military peace-keeping missions.

The enquiry, the interdisciplinary approach and the contentions raised through the production were the subject of an authored chapter for the Routledge Handbook of Medical Humanities, (published Spring 2019).

Following the realisation of the Thought Curfew, two further productions were developed to complement and extend the original work. An original theatre production, Mother Wall, was created and staged at Ubumuntu 2019 and a short film was developed for the live-streamed Ubumuntu 2020.

Performance image of Thought Curfew by David Cotterrell. A person falls to their knees on stage.
Performance image of Thought Curfew by David Cotterrell. A dome-shaped stage has videos displayed on the back wall.
ADMRC logo. The letters A, D, M, R and C in a circle.

Key information

Explore the people, research centres and partner organisations behind this project.

Get in touch

Contact the ADMRC to discuss facilities, partnerships, doctoral research and more

Email ADMRC

Research team

Image of David Cotterrell

David Cotterrell

Director of CCRI


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