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Title: Theatre for development in context : exploring the possibilities and contradictions of visions of theatre and development within the action of community
Author: Preston, Sheila
ISNI:       0000 0001 3499 6211
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Winchester
Date of Award: 2000
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This study is research into practice, concerned with locating a critical perspective into the possibilities of drama in achieving sustainable development within communities. This qualitative research approach draws on action-research paradigms, ethnographic techniques and drama methodologies to create in depth analysis of the facilitation and action of community drama within case study contexts. The case study contexts were drawn from the field of mental health provision and the context of self-advocacy for people with learning difficulties. Drama and video workshops were facilitated within these groups between periods of 9 - 18 months. Participants were involved from three groups including a women's group and a male orientated group within mental health provision, and a group for young adults with learning difficulties within a self advocacy project. This thesis contributes to knowledge in the field of Theatre for Development and UK community based drama in the following ways: The thesis suggests that previous assumptions and claims as to the 'success' of community drama projects need closer, critical interrogation. Analysis of the field work reveals that 'visions' of theatre and development face conflict when positioned in context, as both the nature and action of community is itself contested and ambivalent. The relationship of the facilitator role to other involved parties is given specific interrogation. The role and persona of the facilitator as a key player is identified, and demonstrated as such throughout the thesis through adoption of self-reflexive strategies of writing. It becomes clear that the radical, pedagogic intent of the drama process to foster collective ownership through the critical addressing and the representation of issues pertinent to a group's social reality, is questioned by those involved at various levels in the process. In exploring the nature of drama and video representations as resistance and intervention, sites of personal resistance and 'counter' interventions are illuminated. However, the reality of resistance is also bound up within the complexity of identity politics where the consequences of 'coming out' and accepting a label can become both a liberatory and oppressive experience. In chapter eight the continual difficulty of sustainability is examined and critiqued in the light of key issues identified within the previous chapters. Finally, the thesis assesses the substantive issues in relation to current discourses in cultural theory. By resisting opportunities to prescribe models and techniques thus reproducing the discourses critiqued this study culminates with optimism. Developing creative frameworks, that genuinely engage with contradiction and the complicated politics of context, are deemed as critical conditions for practices.
Supervisor: Prentki, Tim ; Crow, Graham Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Drama; Communities; Sustainable development