Theatre in Education (TIE) emerged in England in 1965 as a complex convergence of
conditions that propelled theatre-based performance practices into school settings,
ostensibly as a means for enabling radical educational transformation. However, as a
set of practices, TIE exists within a set of contradictions, problematics, and occasional
lack of reflexivity that can evacuate its potential for radicality. This historical and
historiographic study explores the educational terrain in which TIE navigates, the
conditions of its emergence and dissemination, and the narratives that frame its
repertoire of practices in order to articulate the problems and problematics that make
TIE a risky endeavor. Focusing on four aporias of TIE, the study asks if TIE is worth
pursuing in the historical conditions of the United States and other nations in the 21st
century, particularly in school(ing) sites that employ high-stakes standardized testing as
a Foucauldian form of discipline. The study then makes several proposals for directions
TIE practitioners must consider if it is to remain relevant as a transformational practice
of theatre and education, including a constant engagement with a postmodern notion of
ethics, a focus on a Freirean critical performative pedagogy, and the consistent
activation of ludic play and ludic space. While looking to numerous TIE programs that
span the history of TIE practices for examples and critiques of the problems and
potentials of TIE’s practices from a bricolage of critical lenses including performance
studies, historiography, postcolonial theory, Foucauldian analysis of power relations,
and critical pedagogies, critical analysis in this study is chiefly rooted in specific case
studies, including Pow Wow (1973)and Homelands (1984) from Coventry Belgrade
TIE, The Giant’s Embrace (2006), Pow Wow: The Power of the Circle (2005), and
Living with Macbeth (2002) from Theatr Powys in Wales, With These Wings I Will …
(2007) from the Creative Arts Team in New York, and Parry Jus’ Once (1998) from
Arts-in-Action in Trinidad and Tobago.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. January 2012. Major: Theatre Arts. Advisor: Dr. Sonja Kuftinec. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 413 pages, appendices A-C.
Adams, Charles N., Jr..
Staging education: practices, problems, and potentials of theatre in education..
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