Book Reviews

Drama and social JusticeDrama and Social Justice: Theory, research and practice in international contexts

Much has been written within the tradition of drama education and applied theatre around the premise that drama can be a force for change within both individual lives and society more broadly. However, little has been published in terms of charting the nature of this relationship. By combining theoretical, historical and practical perspectives, this book unpacks and explores drama’s intrinsically entwined relationship with society more comprehensively and critically.
Chapters gather together and develop a range of theoretical understandings of social justice in applied drama in the first part of the book, which are then used to frame and inform more focused discussions of drama research and practice in the second. Contributors move beyond practical understandings of drama for empowerment or development in order to engage with the philosophy of praxis – the interconnected and symbiotic nature of theory derived from practice, and practice derived from theory. Including concrete examples from current research and practice in the field, the book opens up a conversation on and counter-narrative to perceptions of the nature and impact of applied theatre and drama education on social justice.
Drama and Social Justice will be key reading for postgraduate students, academics, researchers and field-based practitioners in the areas of applied drama and theatre, education and youth work, and social justice and the social sciences.
By Kelly Freebody and Michael Finneran

Dramatic Interactions in EducationDramatic Interaction in Education: Vygotskian and Sociocultural Approaches to Drama, Education and Research

Dramatic Interactions in Education draws together contemporary sociocultural research across drama and educational contents to draw out implications for researchers and practitioners both within and outside the field. Drama is a field for which human interactions, experience, emotional expression, and attitude are central, with those in non-arts fields discovering that understandings emerging from drama education can provide models and means for examining the affective and relational domains which are essential for understanding learning processes. In addition to this, those in the realm of drama education and applied theatre are realising that sociocultural and historical-cultural approaches can usefully inform their research and practice.
Leading international theorists and researchers from across the UK, Europe, USA and Australia combine theoretical discussions, research methodologies, accounts of research and applications in classroom and learning contexts, as they explore concepts from Vygotsky’s foundational work and interrogate key concepts such as perezhivanie (or the emotional, lived experience), development of self, zone of proximal development.
By Susan Davis, Beth Ferholt, Hannah Grainger Clemson, Satu-Mari Jansson and Ana Marjanovic-Shane

The Embodied Performance of GenderThe Embodied Performance of Gender

Norms of embodied behaviour for males and females, as promoted in mainstream Western public arenas of popular culture and the everyday, continue to work, overtly and covertly, as definitive and restrictive barriers to the realm of possibilities of embodied gender expression and appreciation. They serve to disempower and marginalize those not inclined to embody according to such dichotomous models. This book explores the ramifications of the way our gendered, sexed and culturally constructed bodies are situated toward notions of difference and highlights the need to safeguard the social and emotional well-being of those who do not fit comfortably with dominant norms of masculine/feminine behaviour, as deemed appropriate to biological sex. The book interrogates gender inequitable machinations of education and performance arts disciplines by which educators and arts practitioners train, teach, choreograph, and direct those with whom they work, and theorizes ways of broadening personal and social notions of possible, aesthetic, and acceptable embodiment for all persons, regardless of biological sex or sexual orientation. The author’s own struggles as a performance artist, educator, and person in the everyday, as well as the findings of empirical fieldwork with educators, performance arts practitioners, and high school students, are employed to illustrate and advocate the need for self reflexive scrutiny of existing and hidden inequities regarding the embodiment of gender within one’s own habitual perspectives, taste, and practices.
By Jack Migdalek

Transforming the Teaching of ShakespeareTransforming the Teaching of Shakespeare with the Royal Shakespeare Company

This book tells the story of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s acclaimed and influential project to transform the teaching of Shakespeare in schools. It examines their approaches to making his plays more accessible, enjoyable and relevant to young people, describing the innovative classroom practices that the Company has pioneered and locating these within a clearly articulated theory of learning. It also provides evidence of their impact on children and young people’s experience of Shakespeare, drawing upon original research as well as research commissioned by the RSC itself.
Authoritative but highly readable, the book is relevant to anyone with an interest in the teaching of Shakespeare, and in how a major cultural organisation can have a real impact on the education of young people from a wide range of social backgrounds. It benefits from interviews with key policy makers and practitioners from within the RSC, including their legendary voice coach, Cicely Berry, and with internationally renowned figures such as the writer and academic, Jonathan Bate; the previous artistic director of the RSC, Michael Boyd; and the celebrated playwright, Tim Crouch.
By Joe Winston

Voice StudiesVoice Studies: Critical Approaches to Process, Performance and Experience

Voice Studies brings together leading international scholars and practitioners, to re-examine what voice is, what voice does, and what we mean by ‘voice studies’ in the process and experience of performance. This dynamic and interdisciplinary publication draws on a broad range of approaches, from composing and voice teaching through to psychoanalysis and philosophy, including:

  • voice training from the Alexander Technique to practice-as-research;
  • operatic and extended voices in early baroque and contemporary underwater singing;
  • voices across cultures, from site-specific choral performance in Kentish mines and Australian sound art, to the laments of Kraho Indians, Korean pansori and Javanese wayang;
  • voice, embodiment and gender in Robertson’s 1798 production of Phantasmagoria, Cathy Berberian radio show, and Romeo Castellucci’s theatre;
  • perceiving voice as a composer, listener, or as eavesdropper;
  • voice, technology and mobile apps.

With contributions spanning six continents, the volume considers the processes of teaching or writing for voice, the performance of voice in theatre, live art, music, and on recordings, and the experience of voice in acoustic perception and research. It concludes with a multifaceted series of short provocations that simply revisit the core question of the whole volume: what is voice studies?
By Konstantinos Thomaidis and Ben Macpherson

Publisher: National Drama Publications

ISSN 2040-2228

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

© Copyright National Drama 2017

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