Intercultural Theatre

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Syncretizing See Syncretism


Technically an (attempted) reconciliation of diverse or opposite tenets or practices, especially in philosophy or religion. In terms of the arts, this implies the mixing of a bringing together of a diverse set of forms, practices and traditions to create a new form or a particular work of art. The term is now generally used when discussing South African theatre practice of the later 20th century, where the practice of blending a variety of forms, influences, styles and practices to create theatrical works has become almost standard practice. While the practice actually has a much longer history (also in the rest of Africa), it really came to the fore as a formal theatrical practice with the improvisational political works of the 1970’s (vide Theatre Workshop ’71, The Space Theatre, Junction Avenue Theatre Company, Barney Simon and The Company, Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona, Mbongeni Ngema, etc). It is a prominent feature of South African dance, music and art.


The same concept as syncretism, first used in terms of theatre by Temple Hauptfleisch (198*, 1997), and later by other authors. Initiallly syncretism tended to be the most commonly used, though by 2000 hybridism was also being used by a number of authors.

Intercultural theatre

Hybrid Theatre

Syncretic Theatre

Crossover Theatre

A term that derives from a concept within the American music industry (i.e. “crossover music”) and refers to theatrical works which in a sense “cross over” from one (or more) theatrical tradition(s) to another and seeks to blend elements from the constituting traditions/forms. It is thus used as a term to refer to plays/performances which are the results of a process of hybridization and syncretization in South Africa. First coined for this purpose by Temple Hauptfleisch (1993, 1997) it has since come into more general use.

Intercultural Theatre in South Africa

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