This issue of Drama Research contains articles whose authors geographically span the world: UK, USA and Australia and whose research interests are equally diverse, but have one thing in common: the problem of the engagement of students and the means whereby such engagement can be evaluated. ‘Engagement’ is a much-used term in drama and theatre; but it presents particular difficulties to drama researchers in that it is so elusive a concept – how do you know when students are enagaged and how do you evaluate their engagement?
Understanding Multimodal Communication of Dramatic Elements in Titus Andronicus and The Importance of Being Earnest
This paper presents a mini ethnographic study focusing on students’ discussions of dramatic elements in the plays and films of Titus Andronicus and The Importance of Being Earnest.
The silent gaps in the data: what do participants say (and do not say) about engagement when experiencing process drama to learn an additional language?
This paper reports findings from a research project on process drama for teaching and learning additional languages (AL/process drama).
The arts in education inspire considerable commitment and passion. However, this is not always matched by clarity of understanding. In this book Mike Fleming introduces the reader to key theoretical questions associated with arts education and clearly explains how these are related to practice. It offers an authoritative account of how ideas relevant to education are addressed by key authors in aesthetics, art theory and cultural studies.
By Mike Fleming
Performance Theatre and The Poetics of Failure: Forced Entertainment, Goat Island, Elevator Repair Service
What does it mean to ‘fail’ in performance? How might staging failure reveal theatre’s potential to expand our understanding of social, political and everyday reality? What can we learn from performances that expose and then celebrate their ability to fail?
In Performance Theatre and the Poetics of Failure, Sara Jane Bailes begins with Samuel Beckett and considers failure in performance as a hopeful strategy. She examines the work of internationally acclaimed UK and US experimental theatre companies Forced Entertainment, Goat Island and Elevator Repair Service, addressing accepted narratives about artistic and cultural value in contemporary theatre-making. Her discussion draws on examples where misfire, the accidental and the intentionally amateur challenge our perception of skill and virtuosity in such diverse modes of performance as slapstick and punk.
By Sara Jane Bailes
Performing Site-Specific Theatre turns a critical eye to the increasingly popular form of site-specific performance. By re-assessing this contemporary practice, the book investigates the nature of the relationship between ‘site’ and ‘performance.’ Site-specific performance operates differently from performance that takes place within a theatre venue because it seeks to match form and content (and place and space) more finely than does theatre that takes place inside conventional venues. Yet the form also encourages an investigation of how we might understand ‘site’ as less fixed or less specifically geographical; it broadens the types of relevant ‘spaces’ we might consider.
By Anna Birch and Joanne Tomkins
Jana Sanskriti Centre for the Theatre of the Oppressed, based in West Bengal, is probably the largest and longest lasting Forum Theatre operation in the world. It was considered by Augusto Boal to be the chief exponent of his methodology outside of its native Brazil.
This book is a unique first-hand account by the group’s artistic director, Sanjoy Ganguly, of Jana Sanskriti’s growth and development since its founding in 1985, which has resulted in a national Forum Theatre network throughout India. Ganguly describes the plays, people and places that have formed this unique operation and discusses its contribution to the wider themes espoused by Forum Theatre.
By Sanjoy Ganguly
Process drama is now firmly established, internationally, as a powerful and dynamic pedagogy. This clear and accessible book provides a practical, step-by-step guide to the planning of process drama. Grounded in theory and illustrated in practice, it identifies and explains the principles of planning and shows how they can be applied across age ranges and curricula.
Drawing on the authors’ wide-ranging practical experience and research, examples are built up and run throughout the book, at each step showing how and why the teachers’ planning decisions were made.
By Pamela Bowell and Brian S. Heap
This book brings back into our debate about the role and future of drama one of its key practitioners: Gavin Bolton. Bolton’s work is of immediate interest and relevance to today’s drama teachers, student teachers, lecturers and everyone seriously interested in the education of young people. He is a seminal figure internationally in the field of drama education. There are signs that teachers in the UK are once again being urged to be creative. This collection is an essential aid in the process of regeneration.
By David Davis (editor)