Date of Award

5-2013

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

French

Advisor

Jane Smith

Second Committee Member

Jean-Claude Redonnet

Third Committee Member

Susan Pinette

Abstract

This research tries to find out if Franco-American theatre has played a role in the creation of the Franco-American identity and if it can be used as a tool to support the creation of a contemporary identity. It recognizes the issue of acculturation and loss of the French language within the younger generations of Franco-Americans of Maine. Through interviews with playwrights, directors and actors, in addition to research, the analysis attempts to recognize the value and potential of artistic creation as a reinforcement tool in the creation of a contemporary identity.

Minority theatre is recognized as powerful tool for the affirmation and legitimization of ethnic minority groups. Acadian theatre serves as an example of how theatre can evolve to represent and contribute to the needs of a minority people.

The three essential aspects of theatre are explored: creation, production and reception. The production of contemporary plays shows that theatre has contributed to the preservation of the Franco-American heritage even if it has not played a major role in it. However, the thesis defends that with more support in the fields of production and distribution, theatre could be a valuable tool for the renewal of contemporary identity.

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