Combining the cultural capital of Shakespeare with the constraints of a prison, filled with men serving life sentences, creates a powerful heterotopia in which the traditional views of Shakespeare and of prisoners can be unsettled. This article considers how using Shakespeare with those incarcerated can offer them the opportunity to expand their horizons despite the physical restrictions of their imprisonment. Shakespeare enables them to challenge their own limiting beliefs and also engender the potential for social change through altering the perceptions others may have of them. Building on Foucault’s concept of heterotopia and Lefebvre’s spatial triad my research considers the ways in which we were able to create a social space which differed from the physical location within HMP Gartree where I have spent a number of months working with the men on an edited production of Macbeth. This work brought together a disparate group of prisoners and for the duration of the sessions we were in a Scottish castle rather than a prison library. To what extent can this work free their minds from the shackles of their past and their present and open a window to the potential for a future with opportunities rather than limitations?

Rowan MacKenzie

Olly CrickApplying Commedia dell’Arte

Commedia dell’Arte has many different interpretations and incarnations: from Art Deco Pierrot-led romantic ballet, to masked and carnivalesque renaissance bawdy, and sometimes heavily politicised, comedy. It can be quite an uncertain thing to define both onstage and within the classroom. This uncertainty, however, was the key factor which allowed a wide range of interpretations within the 20th and 21st centyries: from the virtuoso formalism of the Piccolo Theatre of Milan’s Arlecchino, Servatore di Due Padrone, to the popular political activism of the San Francisco Mime Troupe. This dramaturgic range leaves many avenues of exploration open to us, both in the classroom and in the rehearsal room. Rather than search for one universal guiding principle behind it, it is more productive to examine its external and more obvious characteristics, chief of which is the masked stock types. Here I hope to offer signposts in how to employ these salient characteristics. Commedia ideally has a highly attractive visual appeal, and arguably its strongest political (as distinct from ideological) and dramaturgic element is the embodiment of the following within its stock characters: social class, economic power and geographical locality. Each role within each does its best to survive and prosper through passions typical of each one’s type. When the complete hierarchy of Commedia stock types is present on stage, the audience is presented with a dynamic picture of a whole society. Exploring the genre’s types, within this hierarchy, and each type’s inner rationale and survival mode within that, will generate interesting classroom and performance material. Here I offer several cases in which the dramaturgy of commedia is interrogated and then variously applied. What they all have in common is that they employ the distinct and identifying features of commedia, and then repurpose them to create a thinking space, expressed in terms of an individual’s behaviour positioned within a wider class-based culture.

Oliver Crick


There is an abundance of studies about engagement in the drama process changing directions in thinking. This paper explores how and why these changes happen. Primarily drawing on Hume’s early studies about thought and thought processes, a model of ‘dramatic fear’ is proposed as a possible dynamic context for thinking in drama. The story of year ten student, Nina, illuminates the theoretical structure proposed as it unfolded in a GCSE drama lesson. Her story provides the context for a further exploration into Meillassoux’s ‘moments of unreason’ whereby we catch glimpses of the ‘thing in itself’ and momentarily penetrate the correlationist membrane.

Amanda Kipling

DannyAvaCreating Community Resilience: Theatre for Young Audiences and the Mental Health Crisis

The mental health crisis is thought to affect 10-20% of children and young people in the world (World Health Organization, 2019). It is clear that this is something that needs addressing in many ways, but importantly in schools. So, how can Theatre for Young Audiences (YTA) make a contribution? In this article, we will explore how visiting theatre companies can regain a foothold in schools, focusing on the specific example of Ava Hunt’s most recent project, Journeys of Destiny and using Danny Braverman’s Dialogue-Across-Difference framework. This collaboration was inspired by the pioneering work of our colleague and friend, David Johnston, who passed away in November 2017. Johnston’s work, as Artistic Director of Theatre Centre from 1977 to 1986, presents us with an approach that we believe can act as an inspiration for today.

Danny Braverman and Ava Hunt

BobMantle of the Expert 2.0: from drama in education towards education in drama

There has been little research examining the balance between process and product in children’s arts education. In this study, Mantle of the Expert, the ‘drama in education’ approach of Dr. Dorothy Heathcote, MBE (1926-2011), has been explored as a method to create a non-scripted theatre performance with seven children between the ages of eight and ten years old. They participated in a single case study of twelve workshops, two semi-structured interviews and one public performance. In this way, the researcher investigated whether Mantle of the Expert could be successfully deployed in the creation of an artistic product and in ‘education in drama’. The results indicate that, in addition to various artistic competencies, the participants developed a strong ownership as performers by means of the process-oriented approach, the collective role element and the non-scripted component of this scheme of work. The researcher suggests that Mantle of the Expert could be further developed into a method that strengthens the artistic process and product in children’s education in drama even more, by further implementing the competence of using artistic mastery or craftsmanship in the methodology.

Bob Selderslaghs

Amy JensenNo More Thoughts and Prayers: What the Performance of Youth Protest in Real-World and Online Communities Might Tell Us About the Future of Theatre for and with Young People in the United States of America.

In this article I want to consider where we, as theatre educators and youth theatre professionals, place our bodies and with whom we build our affective ties. This desire grows out of my observation that we make more theatre for young audiences than we do theatre with young people. In the United States the Theatre Education and the Theatre for Young Audiences field has been historically populated primarily by educated, Caucasian women. While this is slowly changing, many in our field look and sound like me. If we identify our collective longings for our field we state that we want to serve young people and children using theatre. I believe that we would be better institutionally and individually if we figured out new ways to primarily work with young people.

Amy Jensen

Aikaterini DimaAsterios TsirasThe improvement of critical thinking through Drama Education for students in the fifth grade of Primary school

The aim of this article is to demonstrate how an intervention programme based on Drama education techniques can improve the critical thinking skills of students in the fifth grade of Primary school. Critical thinking includes all the mental processes that students go through in order to solve problems and make decisions. Drama education can be used as a means of teaching that influences student’s judgement. This article reports on a study that was carried out at a Primary school in Greece and its participants were students aged 10-11 years old. The areas studied were abstract and inductive attitudes, reliability, observation and hypothesis formation. The research process was semi-experimental with pre-test and post-test evaluation with the research results demonstrating that the application of Drama education techniques reinforces critical thinking skills.

Aikaterini Dima and Asterios Tsiaras

Publisher: National Drama Publications

ISSN 2040-2228

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

© Copyright National Drama 2020

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