Book Reviews

Arts_in_Education150The Arts in Education: An introduction to aesthetics, theory and pedagogy

Do the arts improve academic achievement? What does it mean to ‘teach’ art? What should the balance of classic and pop be in the music curriculum? Should we encourage young children on the stage? How do we judge whether what a child produces is good? How do we justify the arts in the curriculum? What should be the balance between form and content when teaching art?
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.
Throughout the book there are examples of practice to illustrate key ideas and a discussion of useful background texts with a summary of content and arguments for further exploration. Written by a leading authority in the field, it is essential reading for students on Arts PGCE and M Level courses, teachers of the arts and policy developers that require more understanding and insight into their practice.
By Mike Fleming

Gavin_Bolton150Gavin Bolton: essential writings

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)

Planning_Process_Drama150Planning Process Drama: enriching teaching and learning (2nd edition)

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.
Written as a conversation between reader and authors, Planning Process Drama will help practitioners to update and refine their practice and strengthen their understanding, skills and confidence.
By Pamela Bowell and Brian S. Heap

Jana_Sanskriti150Jana Sanskriti: Forum Theatre and Democracy in India

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.
Ganguly charts and reflects on the practice of theatre as politics, developing an intriguing and persuasive case for Forum Theatre and its role in provoking responsible action. His combination of anecdotal insight and lucid discussion of Boal’s practice offers a vision of far-reaching transformation in politics and civil society.
By Sanjoy Ganguly

Performing_Site_Specific150Performing Site-Specific Theatre: Politics, Place, Practice

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. The form also enables us to address a range of performative issues, from the development of site-specific ‘soundscapes’ to the role of the spectator in site-specific performance. The contributions in the book from leading theorists and practitioners demonstrate how site-specific performance extends theatre’s potential engagement with its geographical and political communities, and cover an exceptional range of innovative performance practices. Students, scholars and practitioners of contemporary theatre and performance, space and place, and site-specific performance will find much to value in this timely interrogation of current trends, practices and implications of performance in which site/landscape is central.
By Anna Birch and Joanne Tomkins

Performance_Theatre150Performance 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.
Detailed rehearsal and performance analysis are used to engage theory and contextualise practice, extending the dialogue between theatre arts, live art and postmodern dance. The result is a critical account of performance theatre that offers essential reading for practitioners, scholars and students of Performance, Theatre and Dance Studies.
By Sara Jane Bailes

Publisher: National Drama Publications

ISSN 2040-2228

©2013 National Drama - Drama Research: international journal of drama in education

© Copyright National Drama 2013

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