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Title: Embodying critical engagement : experiments with politics, theatre and young people in the UK and Chile
Author: Elliott, Matthew David
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 4131
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2019
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This study is focused on three case studies, seeking to explore the possibilities for developing a critical, agonistic and politically aware theatre practice with young people. I begin by conducting research in to the political and historical contexts of the community theatre movement in the UK and Chile. I consider the development of neoliberalism in the UK and Chile and its negative effects on critically engaged theatre practices. The thesis also determines that youth theatre practice, in its historic and contemporary forms, has been dominated by a focus on theatre skills and aesthetics. Informed by Paulo Freire's work on critical education and Chantal Mouffe's political theory of agonism, I develop a critical youth theatre framework that questions the possibilities of practice engaging in political action. My contextual analysis and theoretical framework are explored by a comparative model, analysing two projects from the UK and one from Chile. The three practice as research case studies are; the use of Legislative Theatre practice with Collective Encounters Youth Theatre in collaboration with the Youth Parliament in Liverpool, UK; work in a juvenile detention centre using theatre games to support popular education programmes in Santiago, Chile; and a collaboration with Cockburn School to explore how theatre can support student voice initiatives in Leeds, UK. Video documentation of the Legislative Theatre performance (October 2016) and the performance of Future Routine at Cockburn School (July 2017) forms part of this practice-led submission. Video documentation was prohibited at the detention centre in Santiago, therefore in this case transcripts of interviews are appended to this thesis. I conclude that a critical agonistic theatre practice with young people can be realised. The development of allies, understanding mechanisms of change and issues of responsive practice were the main areas of learning. The study also demonstrates the challenges I experienced in conducting my case studies and reflects on the learning from these. Overall my findings show that, although it is fraught with challenges and obstacles, a critical agonistic theatre practice can develop political action with young people.
Supervisor: Plastow, Jane Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available