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Title: Possible Shakespeares : the educational value of working with Shakespeare through theatre-based practice
Author: Irish, Tracy
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 8680
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores how embodying Shakespeare’s language through theatre-based practice can connect young people to the plurality of human perspectives, and develop their skills of communication. I review the evolution of Shakespeare’s value in formal education as literary heritage, and the tension that persists between his roles as literary icon and living artist. Peter Brook warns that Shakespeare is particularly in danger of becoming ‘deadly theatre’: admired and respected, but not alive to the moment of its production and reception. A parallel can exist with ‘deadly’ classrooms, where Shakespeare is taught with reverence but students find no relevance in his plays to their own lives. I construct a theoretical framework using key concepts from education and theatre along with findings from linguistics and cognitive science to explore the pedagogical value of Shakespeare as a cultural heritage with which young people can critically and creatively interact. I explore the relationship between language, thought and learning, and how theatre-based practice creates meaning through a dialogic process of collaborative negotiation and close study of the text. This practice acknowledges the role narrative and analogy play in how we learn, and allows young people to be both emotionally engaged in and intellectually critical of how Shakespeare creates situations of human experience. I conclude that the musicality and metaphorical nature of language is critical in how we express, share and shape our sense of the world and suggest that as performance texts Shakespeare’s plays provide a site of continually evolving cultural metaphors. I propose that embodying Shakespeare’s text allows young people to explore the possibilities of sense behind the meaning of words, and to reflect metacognitively on their experiences to build understanding of how language works and what it achieves in a search for the quality of truth.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater ; PR English literature