Children's drama : technical and educational approaches to the development of TV and theatre drama in Oman
The purpose of this study is to explore how Omani children's drama, in schools and theatres and T.V. can be developed and enriched to become a useful educational tool for the nation's development, while also meeting children's cognitive and emotional needs. In order to do so, the origins and development of Arab and Omani theatre and T.V. are traced, the goals of the Omani development strategy and the expected roles of theatre and T.V. are discussed, and examples of good practice from the Arab world and the West are considered. The work is qualitative in nature, depending largly on writings on drama, on the researcher's extensive experience in television and theatre production and direction, and on visits to observe children's theatre in the U.K., United States, and Arab Gulf States. In addition, a small survey was carried out among Omani teachers to explore their perceptions of the role and practice of drama in schools, and a seminar was held in which various experts came together to discuss issues in Children's Drama and Theatre and to identify obstacles. As a practical experiment a play, Titi and Toti, was directed and produced by researcher to demonstrate the feasibility and value of developing theatre for children in Oman. It is shown that drama in Oman is in the early stages of development and is dominated by television. Children's theatre as a distinct form hardly exists at all. Obstacles include lack of resources, inadequate training, and conservative social atitueds [i.e. attitudes] which associate drama with pagan superstition, time-wasting, and alien cultural values. Nevertheless, a few successful experiments suggest that useful Western models such as Theatre in Education can be reconciled with elements of Oman's rich cultural heritage, to produce works for children that are entertaining, informative, and consistent with local values. Recommendations are made for the development of Omani children's theatre and drama in line with the nation's overall cultural strategy.