Vol 7 No.1: April 2016
Welcome to Issue 7 of Drama Research.
We are proud to say that in this issue of Drama Research, as well as articles from the USA and the UK, there is strong representation of research papers from the African continent: from Ghana, Zimbabwe and The Republic of South Africa. It is a rare treat to gain a wealth of insights into the work that is going on in that great continent.
However, what is important to understand is the context in which some research takes place there. Owen Seda and Kennedy Chinyowa in their article Researching applied theatre through the ethnography of performance: a perspective from the South pose themselves the question:
How can arts education practices such as applied drama and theatre be better researched using performance ethnography?
But their research in Zimbabwe, undertaken between 2002 and 2010, was conducted against a particularly unusual (to say the least) social and political context:
'Soon after the controversial outcome of the Zimbabwean presidential elections of March 2002, the then ruling party ZANU (PF) had established vigilante groups, otherwise known as ‘war veterans’, who were carrying out a ‘cleansing’ exercise to rid the party’s rural support base of suspected opposition party elements (see IRIN News, 8 September, 2003). ‘Strangers’ (like ourselves) were liable for questioning, which could easily degenerate into torture and violence.'
Thus limited in their options for research by these extraordinary conditions they take as the source of their case studies two theatre companies working in Zimbabwe and environs: CHIPAWO, a Children’s Performing Arts Workshop, and Amakhosi, one of post-independence Zimbabwe’s most successful community theatre companies. Through this work they conclude that there is indeed a valuable research relationship between performance ethnography and drama and theatre that is worth exploring further.
This issue brings many different worlds together for assessment and evaluation: the Northern with the Southern Hemisphere; the objective with the subjective; the past with the present. We feel that these juxtapositions offer productive tension to stimulate thinking not just about Drama and Theatre but also about the social and political contexts for education and well being of children and young people all around the world. Read more.