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Title: On the edge : a Boalian theatre project in citizenship/character education with disaffected youth
Author: Atterby, Kate
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 4815
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis explores the use of Boalian Theatre as a potential way to actively engage disaffected young people in a dialogue about the character virtues of respect and self-discipline. Political theatre practitioner, director, and teacher Augusto Boal is best known for founding Theatre of the Oppressed, an international movement and system for creating theatre that seeks to examine forms of conflict, discrimination and oppression. Uniquely, this thesis makes links between Boalian Theatre practice and Citizenship/Character Education. Within this framework, the Boalian Theatre study functions to cultivate disaffected participants’ ability to question, deconstruct, and then reconstruct knowledge in the interest of developing notions of respect and self-discipline which are key components of Citizenship/Character Education. The starting point for this research was the critical exploration of Citizenship/Character Education and interventions which involve the use of theatre as a tool for change. The review of the literature raised preliminary questions concerning the nature and form of Character Education and Interventionist Theatre and established Boalian Theatre as the focus of this research. Boalian Theatre was defined as a portfolio of techniques which employed some (though not all) of the elements of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. There were a number of reasons as to why this was an appropriate focus. This included the extent to which its political origins translate to the context of working with disaffected participants as an oppressed group and the shift in thinking with regards to Citizenship/Character development of secondary school students. The research implemented a Boalian Theatre study, informed by critical social theories, and used case study methodology. The research was implemented with ten 18-21 year olds who describe themselves as ‘disaffected.’ Findings show that participants conclude that there is potential in offering Boalian Theatre as a community-based programme with the aim of promoting individual and collective responses to their own understanding of respect and self-discipline. Data suggests the project was effective in assisting participants to create new understandings of the terms ‘respect’ and ‘self-discipline.’ Further evidence of impact is offered in participants electing to engage in further Boalian Theatre study. A challenge, which was key to the success of the Boalian Theatre study was the dismantling of notions of hierarchy (common amongst those who engage in gang membership) and the building of shared norms, values and understanding that facilitated co-operation within the group. Only then did the Boalian Theatre study offer an effective and reflective tool for character development and Citizenship Education. In doing so it provided an opportunity for participants to view areas of conflict several times (re-examined) until they understood the source of the conflict and found resolution. This was particularly effective when examining notions of respect and self-discipline which are integral to both Citizenship/Character Education. The thesis explores the complexities, tensions and ambiguities of using Boalian Theatre with disaffected participants. Bridging the gap between theatre, Citizenship and Character education it further seeks to explore the possibility of developing a more inclusive Citizenship/Character Education model which includes elements of paleoconservative, communitarian, libertine and libertarian models. It should be noted that this thesis reports in the verbatim discourse of disaffected participants and as such contains strong language and profanities.
Supervisor: Adams, Kate Marie ; Puttick, Steven Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available