Theses (Theatre)

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    Applied theatre with gatekeepers
    (2022-05-02) Jerke, Lauren; Dobson, Warwick
    Applied theatre projects that aim to address social justice issues almost exclusively involve those who are experiencing injustice; while members of the state, who actively maintain the status quo, are frequently overlooked, despite the fact that they are essentially gatekeepers of social justice. In projects that do involve current and/or future members of the state, the root cause of social injustice and the systems, institutions, and ideology which support capitalism are only briefly mentioned, if at all. For this arts-based, anti-oppressive research, I facilitated three applied theatre projects that involved future and/or current gatekeepers. For each project, I considered the conditions that provided participants the opportunity to identify and question dominant ideology through the dramatic process. Having analyzed each case, I found that when applied theatre is structured using a revolutionary approach, it can cultivate felt understanding and deepen critical consciousness. In order to truly address issues of social justice with the goal to ending them, I argue for dedicated spaces where future and current gatekeepers can participate in applied theatre to critically examine the ideas that support capitalism, and the tendency and temptation to draw lines in the sand between “us” and “them”.
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    Applied theatre as post-disaster response: re-futuring climate change, performing disasters, and Indigenous ecological knowledge
    (2021-09-07) Gupa, Dennis D.; Sadeghi-Yekta, Kirsten
    In this dissertation, I foreground local elders’ epistemology and ontology embedded in sea rituals and traditional fishing methods in a typhoon-battered community in the Philippines. I do this through the practice of applied theatre to explore agency, relationality, and creativity in the aftermath of a disaster. By locating this dissertation within the intercultural, interdisciplinary, and intersectional applied theatre, I mobilize local disaster narratives by using auto-ethnography, Practice-as-Research, and Participatory Action Research towards the co-creation of local/transnational community-based-theatre performances. These applied theatre performances underscore the solidarity and collective creativity of community members, elders, local government officials, local artists in the Philippines and diasporic Filipinos in Canada. The dissertation engages in personal narrative inquiry, reflective memoir, oral stories, ritual performances, collective creations, archives, and in reclaimed objects to address the existing colonial mode of theorizing theatre and organized post-disaster recovery programs in a local island community decimated by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan). Cognizant of the complex networks of post-disaster reconstruction, recovery, and planning in local and international spheres of development work, I formulate an applied theatre performance method as a post-disaster mitigative approach stemming from the specter of Super Typhoon Yolanda and other disastrous events wrought by climate crises. This collective and emancipative method emerges from an affective, hybrid, and cross-cultural mode of inquiry to tackle climate change and bring Indigenous ways of knowing into the center of the climate change conversation. I use this method in co-creating performances on local climate crises that critically examines coloniality and cultural misappropriation in an intercultural milieu. I discuss Indigenous ecological epistemology against the backdrop of climate change processes through autoethnographic inquiry and multi-narrative discourse on agentic, performative, and collective performance creations. I argue that Indigenizing the performance method mobilizes a decolonial theatre that broadens, equalizes, and diversifies the climate change dialogue. Informed by the vernacular concepts of affective and intersubjective criticality (Abat), relational collaboration (Pakiki-pagpulso, Pakiki-pagkapwa, Pagmamalasakit), and shared improvisation (Pintigan), this performance method deploys emancipative subjectivities and considers possible futures. By using applied theatre as a practice of post-disaster recovery, I channel its artistic practice and tools in engaging the local and transnational communities in collective acts of re-centering marginalized narratives and peripheralized bodies of knowledge. Stemming from the wounding memories of disasters, traumatic stories of a super typhoon, and political disjuncture, my collaborators and I mobilized communities, deployed diverse voices, and engaged with non-human subjectivities in sites with histories of environmental destruction and colonization both in local and diasporic communities. Driven by principles of decolonial theatre and emancipated dramaturgy, I aim to offer an ethical inquiry and practice of applied theatre that tackles climate crises in sites with a long history of disasters. These performance principles valorize the Indigenization of theatre’s capacity for social, political, and cultural intervention to re-future climate crises. Finally, this dissertation emphasizes the persistence of Indigenous knowledge, social relationality, and local creativity beyond the incursion of modernity and colonialism.
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    You're doing what?! At your age?! Intergenerational, community-based theatre to address social stigma of sexuality across the life course
    (2020-05-06) Tidey, Leah; Sadeghi-Yekta, Kirsten; Dobson, Warwick
    Social stigma about sexuality across the life course is pervasive and deeply rooted in “Anglophone West” and patriarchal society that strives to police the sexuality of youth and older adults in diverse yet interconnected ways. Using an Intergenerational and Community-Based Applied Theatre approach to address common misconceptions about sexuality across the life course, I sought to offer a space to share lived experiences of youth and older adults with each other and their community. The community-based project created with the Victoria Target Theatre Society, Victoria High School, and Island Sexual Health Society offers insight into an avenue for social change based on the reactions from collaborators before and after the devising and performance process, in addition to audience responses. Furthermore, these findings can inform action in the form of policy change that aims to address systemic stigmatization of older adult and youth sexuality as well as the lack of education for healthcare providers to offer unbiased care and resources.
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    A re-consideration of participation and ethics in applied theatre projects with internally displaced and internationally displaced persons in Africa and beyond
    (2020-04-27) Afolabi, Taiwo; Warwick, Dobson
    This research started as a quest to understand better the ethics of doing Theatre for Development/Applied Theatre with under-served, marginalized and vulnerable populations especially in post-conflict zones in the Global South. As a theatre practitioner-researcher from Africa who has lived and worked in post-conflict zones, I was interested in fostering appropriate ethical protocols for arts-based practices for social engagement, advocacy and social justice. Thus, in this dissertation, I focus on two concepts in applied theatre practice: participation and ethics. I examine how participation can be re-conceptualized in applied theatre practice and focus on the ethics around conducting research among vulnerable populations especially on refugees and internally displaced persons. On participation, I use existing case studies from various fields to argue that participation in community engagement and socially-engaged art practices can become a tool to reposition voices on the margin to the centre in order to unsettle centres of power. However, for this to happen, participation needs to engage a communicative action that is both epistemic and ontic in its approach. An epistemic discourse provides a way of seeing the world while an ontic discourse provides people with a way of being in the world. The former is a ‘theoretical’ discursive practice that is fundamentally epistemological, and the latter is an ‘embodied’ praxis that is fundamentally ontological. I examine the famous Ngugi wa Thiongo’s Kamiriithu Community Theatre project in Kenya and Michael Balfour et al’s refugee project in Australia to foreground this new thinking on verb-oriented and noun-oriented notions of participation. On ethics, I raise a series of critical questions around interventionist or humanitarian performances. It is hoped that these questions will deepen discourses in applied theatre practice and further challenge practitioners to rethink why we do what we do. Using narrative inquiry, I glean lessons from my field research facilitating drama workshop among secondary school students who have been internally displaced due to an ongoing socio-political crisis in Nigeria. I also reflect on my other applied theatre experiences in Canada and Sudan. I propose an ethical practice that is built on relational interaction. In the context of working in post-conflict zones or in places of war, I argue that precarity becomes a determining factor in framing the ethics of practice. The questions around ethics are raised to also draw attention to decolonizing ethical practices. Finally, I articulate the connection between participation and ethics in that participation becomes a tactic to ensure that applied theatre researchers/practitioners conduct their work in ethical ways. This is because through participation, concerned communities can challenge unethical practices and transform the research to create outcomes that are beneficial. Thus, as an example of reflective practitioner research, the projects in this dissertation offer opportunities to examine critically how participation has been conceptualized and the need for a decolonizing understanding towards ethics in applied theatre practice especially in post-conflict zones.
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    Contemporary independent Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) in Córdoba, Argentina 2001-2016: documenting a community of practice
    (2019-12-19) Bessey, Kate; Dobson, Warwick
    My premise in this dissertation is that the tradition of independent theatre for young audiences created in Córdoba, Argentina is a worthy community of practice for Applied Theatre study. To provide the much needed documentation of and exposure to this community of practice, and to defend the hypothesis that this community of theatre practice represents a valuable contribution to the Applied Theatre canon, this research project focuses on the following questions: What are the key characteristics of independent theatre for young audiences practice in Córdoba, Argentina between 2001 and 2016? What are the recurring themes and ideas emerging from this community of practice and in circulation among its artists? How are these characteristics, themes and ideas similar to and different from the overall community of independent theatre practice in Córdoba, Argentina during the same period?
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    Undergraduate lighting design curriculum and pedagogy in Canada
    (2019-10-10) Carolan, Claire; Lindgren, Allana; Prendergast, Monica
    The purpose of this research is to review the past and present pedagogy and curricula of theatre lighting design in Canada; the factors, values, ideas and theories that inform it; and to recommend an updated pedagogy and curriculum that reflects the trends of learning in higher education, and theatre performance in Canada in the twenty-first century. This review of and intervention in the curriculum and pedagogy of undergraduate lighting design in Canada has evolved out of a growing scenographic turn that recognizes that lighting design can and does perform independently from a theatre text. There has never been a wide-scale review of undergraduate lighting design education in Canada before this one. This research suggests that timeworn theatrical hierarchies and practices that limit equity and diversity in Canadian theatre exist in the dominant undergraduate lighting design pedagogy and curriculum; and that unchecked adherence to these systems stabilizes outdated yet persistent practices within the established institutions of university theatre departments and the professional industry. An internet search conducted in October of 2016 and again in June of 2017 showed nineteen universities in Canada offering coursework with lighting design specific content. Each of these departments was contacted (in accordance with permission granted by the Human Research Ethics Board at the University of Victoria) and invited to contribute materials in the form of course outlines, syllabi and participate in interviews. The institutions included in the survey have undergraduate degree granting status, are located in Canada and, offer either undergraduate course work specifically on lighting design or courses where lighting design is a stated component in a course. Interviewees were lighting design instructors either; currently or recently teaching at a Canadian university regardless of academic rank; or a lighting design instructor whose teaching practice has lapsed for a period of more than eighteen months, but who has distinguished themselves as a key contributor to Canadian lighting design education. This study concludes that the present curriculum and pedagogy are significantly unchanged since the 1980s and do not reflect current trends in higher education that are cognizant of the diversity of undergraduate students in Canada or new theories in curriculum and instruction that are student-centred and -directed. Recommendations include adopting scenoturgy as a pedagogy, and using aspects of connectivism in the curriculum such as blended and distributed learning practices to teach lighting design.
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    The logistics and finances of touring North America, 1900-1916
    (2018-08-07) Vickery, Anthony John Louie; Wise, Jennifer
    In the month of December, 1904, 420 theatre companies were “on the road” in North America. This volume of touring was made possible only by the centralisation of the commercial theatre business, a feat of organisation accomplished by three partnerships that came to be collectively known as the Syndicate: Marc Klaw and Abraham Erlanger; Charles Frohman and Al Hayman; and Sam Nixon-Nirdlinger and Fred Zimmerman. These men, later in competition with the three Shubert brothers, Lee, Sam S., and J. J., brought a “big business” approach to management into the theatre and employed it to reap considerable profits. My dissertation explores the business organisation of these firms throughout the period 1900–1916. The first two chapters of my dissertation provide a general context and information on theatrical conditions up to the foundation of the Syndicate with special emphasis on tours of North America. In the second chapter, I pay special attention to the makeup of the combination companies that ruled the road during 1900–16. My third chapter investigates the organization of the Shubert main office. Included in this chapter are examinations of the various contracts the corporations used to form and control their empires. My fourth chapter examines the road companies. Topics I cover in this chapter include company operations, route changes, employment of backstage staff and company discipline. My final chapter analyses business practices in road theatres with special emphasis on their communications with the Shuberts or Syndicate. Since there were literally hundreds of road theatres to choose from, I selected circuits that conducted operations in Canada as the basis for the chapter (circuits operated by Ambrose J. Small and Corliss P. Walker). I conclude my dissertation with a discussion of the road in the late 1990s because many of the conditions of touring today are reflective of touring in the early 1890s. The road at the end of the twentieth century is making a comeback in strikingly familiar ways. Information for my dissertation comes primarily from documents in the Shubert Archives. Many of the records there have never been analysed by academics and they provided a fertile field for my investigation. Contemporary periodicals, especially The New York Dramatic Mirror and Variety , also provide a great deal of information on the period. Other sources consulted were the myriad biographies and autobiographies performers and managers published during the era or shortly thereafter.
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    Performed negotiations: the historical significance of the second wave alternate theatre in English Canada and its relationship to the popular tradition
    (2018-06-14) Drennan, Barbara; Booth, Michael R.
    This doctoral project began in the early 1980s when I became involved in making a community theatre event on Salt Spring Island with a group of artists accomplished in disciplines other than theatre. The production was marked by an orientation toward creating stage images rather than a literary text and by the playful exploitation of theatricality. This experiment in theatrical performance challenged my received ideas about theatre and drama. As a result of this experience, I began to see differences in original, small-venue productions which were considered part of the English-Canadian alternate theatre scene. I determined that the practitioners who created these events could be considered a second generation to the Alternate Theatre Movement of the 70s and settled on identifying their practice as Second Wave. The singular difficulty which Second Wave companies experience is their marginalization by mainstream theatre reviewers. These critics not only promote productions but also educate audiences and other theatre practitioners about theatre practice. Second Wave productions defy conventional descriptive categories which are founded on the assumption that theatre practice is the interpretation of a literary drama; thus they seem to fall short of their artistic potential. At issue here is the way we talk about theatre in English Canada: the conventions which authenticate our discourse and the implications of this discourse which makes material the three-way dynamic--knowledge/power/practice--as it pertains to our theatre institution and cultural value systems. In this study, three Second Wave productions were selected as sample case studies. I recognized these theatre events as different because they employed performance practices from the popular theatre tradition to generate their plays. Tears of a Dinosaur (One Yellow Rabbit, Calgary) used puppets; Doctor Dapertutto (Theatre Columbus, Toronto) used clowning techniques; and Down North (St. Ann's Bay Players, Cape Breton Island) used local folk performance conventions. In English-speaking theatre, popular traditions are trivialized; they are spoken of in derogatory terms as lesser forms or entertainments. Sometimes they are discursively constructed as paratheatrical or outside theatre. I concluded that the Second Wave negotiation between the popular traditions and the conventional or literary paradigm for theatre as an art form is stylistically indicative of postmodernism. At the same time, this practice is politically subversive, a postcolonial gest, because the employment of paratheatrical traditions undermines discursive norms about English-Canadian theatre and thus destabilizes the dominant cultural narratives which sustain the hegemonic status quo.
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    A study of Tal-choom together with certain western analogies
    (2018-06-08) Kim, Hye-Soon; Hughes, Alan
    Tal-choom is a generic term for various types of Korean mask-dance theatre that have been performed during traditional holidays and festivals over the past three hundred years. Literally 'tal' means mask and 'choom' dance. The purpose of this study is to examine the theatrical conventions of Tal-choom, its development as popular theatre, and its significance in terms of social and political changes in past and present Korea. Four types of Tal-choom continue to exist today, all being derived from their geographic origins. I have chosen to examine the Pong-san Tal-choom, which is the most widely recognized, performed type, and common to the area around north-eastern Korea. In this study, I present not only the nature of Tal-choom and its effect upon its audience but draw parallels with popular theatre. I focus on six main areas: (1) the contemporary context of Tal-choom as popular theatre; (2) the origin and development of Tal-choom; (3) the structure and performance conventions of Tal-choom; (4) the description of the cast, masks, costumes and props; (5) the performer training and the transmission of the oral tradition; and (6) audience participation. In order to convey Tal-choom more vividly, I have also translated and provided a Pong-san Tal-choom scenario. While examining the role of the participating audience and the relationship to ancient fertility festivals in Tal-choom performance, I have drawn an analogy to the Rolling Stones' "Steel Wheels" concert which took place in 1989, as a means of clarifying Tal-choom's strength as popular theatre. I firmly believe that anyone can come to a Tal-choom performance in South Korea with the same confidence he or she brings to a rock concert as an audience member in the West. Through recognition of both the topical uniqueness and the particular characteristics of Tal-choom, this study should enable scholars to embrace more readily the universal nature of theatre. No longer can we, nor should we, ignore the power and influence of the isolated, regional theatre traditions in our study of world theatre.
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    Ordering chaos : the Canadian fringe theatre phenomenon
    (2017-07-31) Paterson, Erika; Stephenson, Peter H.; Moore, Mavor
    In 1982, the Edmonton Fringe began as a low budget experimental theatre event,and quickly became an annual celebration of performance that was (and is) a truly popular festival. Today, the Edmonton Fringe attracts 500,000 spectators, 200 street performers, and 150 theatre groups from across the country and around the world. Between 1985 and 1991, Fringe festivals were established in Montreal, Toronto, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Victoria. These 7 festivals constituted a 4 month theatre circuit for national and international travelling theatre and street performance troupes. All of these festivals continue to receive more applications from Fringe artist to produce, than they can possibly accommodate. Audience members are willing to stand in line for up to six hours to see a sell-out Fringe show. These events have stimulated a remarkable level of excitement and enthusiasm for theatre. Why ? How? These are the central questions that this work approaches from a number of different, and sometimes distinct perspectives. “Part One," Ordering Chaos. begins with a history of the Fringe that places the festivals in a larger context concerned with Canadian theatre, and in particular the historical relations, social and theatrical, between the alternative theatre movement and the Fringe, and between the Fringe and the postmodern. It includes a description and analysis of the Fringe Production model, Fringe performance, and excerpts from numerous interviews with Fringe producers, artists, and critics.“Part Two," The Fringe Phenomenon, observes these events from two different perspectives; one is concerned with festivity, the other with popular culture; both observe the Fringe as a socio-cultural event. Depending primarily on Victor Turner’s anthropology of performance and John Fiske’s observations on popular culture, I examine the festivals as cultural performances. Linda Hutcheon’s understanding of the Canadian postmodern provides a context for conclusionary remarks.
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    Discarding the impossible premise : creating an empathic approach to actor training: criteria leading to optimal skill development in a safe learning environment
    (2017-04-20) Jevne, Clayton; Baxter, Laurie Rae; Hogya, Giles
    The current premise maintains that the qualities that characterize the relationship between verbal and nonverbal expression displayed by the actor, while speaking scripted, memorized text, will be naturally, and spontaneously, influenced by the circumstances inherent in the text, just as these qualities would be influenced by circumstances inherent in comparable “real-life” situations. My research demonstrates that the current implied premise underlying actor training theory - geared towards acting with scripted text - is flawed and, as such, jeopardizes skill development in a safe learning environment, through its inability to accommodate conditions found necessary through this research for both practical skill development, and the development and maintenance of empathic student/teacher relations A narrative telling of my personal history in training and professional work will preface my research finds and argument. This narrative will then be used as reference during the course of the argument, which will use research studies from the behavioural sciences to support the logic behind the narrative developments. Evidence strongly indicates that the claim for the equation in the current premise for actor training is unfounded. When this equation is removed experimentally, it becomes apparent that the criteria used in various training procedures are limited solely to the training exercises, and cannot be applied successfully to the final product. When training and performance situations do not share circumstantial similarity, and comparable criteria, the basic conditions for practical skill development cannot be fully met. The absence of transferable criteria to the performance situation also inhibits the development of an empathic relationship between student and teacher, a relationship deemed necessary by my findings for optimal skill transference as well for ensuring a safe learning environment. Under the current premise, exercises are used which have an actual final goal other than that for which they are ultimately directed. This poses a potential threat to the safety of the student. Without empathy the teacher’s discretion in determining the appropriateness of these training exercises is compromised. In this dissertation, I propose an alternative premise, that recognizes the inherent circumstantial difference in “real-life” and “scripted” reality, exercises are offered that share both criteria and circumstantial comparability with the performance situation. This will guarantee the conditions necessary to both skill development and the growth of student/teacher empathy; thus ensuring a productive and safe learning environment.
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    Intergenerational theatre in India: a reflective practitioner case study on an intercultural theatre exchange between Canada and rural Tamil Nadu
    (2016-07-06) Gusul, Matthew Joseph; Dobson, Warwick
    In 2004, a Tsunami had devastating effects on the province of Tamil Nadu, India. In the community’s re-building process, many elders were forced to live in areas of the coastal region referred to as “Grannie Dumps,” because their homes were destroyed. With the monetary help of HelpAge International and the guidance of Michael Etherton, these elders are now part of an active, healthy community named Tamaraikulam Elders Village (TEV) that wants to tell its story. In March 2008, Michael Etherton attended a Workshop/Performance of GeriActors & Friends (G&F), an intergenerational theatre company from Edmonton, AB. I was G&F’s Assistant Director. After this, Etherton connected me with HelpAge India and TEV, realizing that the methods used with G&F would benefit TEV. Starting in January 2013 and completing in June 2015, under my direction, the University of Victoria’s Theatre Department assisted TEV in creating intergenerational theatre performance with various young people’s charity groups throughout the Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry region. The dissertation is structured as a reflective practitioner case study and is split into two sections. The first section of my work will communicate to the reader the events of the case study in India. The latter half of this work will be a collection of exegesis chapters reflecting upon the salient issues for the field of applied theatre research and practice which my research project brings up and how my reflections will affect my future practice while providing suggestions for how they could impact the entire field of applied theatre.
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    Spinning red yarn(s): Being Artist/Researcher/Educator Through Playbuilding as Qualitative Research
    (2015-01-14) Bishop, Kathy; Dobson, Warwick; Clover, Darlene E.
    This research was simultaneously collective and individual. In this dissertation, my team and I inquired into what it means to undertake playbuilding as qualitative research and be a practitioner, specifically focusing on the roles of artist, researcher, and educator from an applied theatre graduate student perspective. I drew upon the methodological and theoretical frameworks of playbuilding as qualitative research and a/r/tography. Playbuilding as qualitative research offers creative methods for un/re/covering collective and affective ways of knowing. A/r/tography offers the opportunity to explore self and roles through art-making and reflexivity. For me, both are manifestations of the same creative impulse to make meaning and generate new understandings expressed through different perspectives and processes. This research consisted of a cohort of applied theatre graduate students who collectively explored and devised a play on what it means to be an artist/researcher/educator. The play, To Spin a Red Yarn: Enacting Artist/Researcher/Teacher stands as an artefact to the collectives’ generation, interpretation, and performance of research. In addition, I wrote an exegesis that spins my individual story within our collective. The exegesis, Behind the Curtain, extends the world of the play into the text by taking the reader on a dramatic journey through soliloquizing as dialogue. As a result of this study, I theorized a translated a/r/tographical framework into theatre- based language for the use by practitioners that is rooted in theatre practitioner praxis (theory and practice). This praxis-based study was intended to provide knowledge for artist-researchers, educators, and theatre-makers. This research offers artists/researchers/educators access to more stories, insights, and ideas about what it means to be a theatre-based artist/researcher/educator undertaking playbuilding as qualitative research. This research opens up rich possibilities that are commonplace to theatre-makers and performing artists on how different theatrical conventions could be used in playbuilding as qualitative research. For theatre-makers who are interested in combining theatre with academic research, it offers another paradigm to consider, expand, and interconnect the work that they do. Likewise, for a/r/tographers who are theatre-based, this research offers a way to conceive the work they do rooted in theatre-based language.
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    Acknowledging nature's agency: the ecocentric tradition in English-Canadian drama.
    (2012-04-30) Gray, Nelson; Wise, Jennifer
    While there have been numerous critical studies of English-Canadian drama, none to date has investigated portrayals of the natural world from an ecocritical perspective, paying particular attention to plays that make the relationship between human characters and the more-than-human physical world a significant part of the action. Through a series of close readings, this study considers the texts of such plays—those written in this part of the world from 1606 to 2011—with respect to what they reveal about attitudes to the natural world. After showing how depictions of nature in plays from 1606 to the late 19th century were inflected by Eurocentric attitudes and colonizing agendas, I go on to draw attention to a series of dramatic works that acknowledge the agency of the more more-than than-human physical world as an oikos or dwelling place that is fundamental to human identity. By showing the rise and development of this body of work from the 1920s to 2011, I trace the genealogy of what I characterize as an ecocentric tradition in English-Canadian drama—plays in which elements of the natural world function, not as scenic backdrops or as a pool of metaphors for exclusively human concerns, but as forces in their own right that shape and determine human actions and are, in many cases, affected by them.
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    Effective methods of TfD practice: understanding the conditions that provide autonomy and empowerment for marginalized communities.
    (2012-04-30) Kandil, Yasmine; Dobson, Warwick
    This research began as a quest to better understand the relationships between marginalized communities, facilitators, and not-for-profit organizations, or NGO’s, in a specific Theatre for Development (TfD) process. When a TfD project that engaged and positively impacted the lives of Egyptian young garbage pickers was discontinued by the funding NGO, the researcher, who was the group’s theatre facilitator, set out to find solutions to this disempowering process. Initially, this research was created to explore how to pass on the skills of practicing theatre to marginalized communities, as a means for them to claim the process, practicing it independently of NGOs and facilitators. This initial inquiry then evolved to encompass exploring effective methods of TfD practice, where the question then became: What are the conditions that provide empowerment and autonomy for marginalized communities in the TfD context? Using Narrative Inquiry the researcher recalls her experience working with the garbage pickers in one of the biggest slums in the world, Mokkatam City, in Cairo. The narrative is used to question the choices made by both the facilitators and NGOs which ultimately compromised an otherwise life changing experience for the young community. The researcher then employs Action Research to outline a community-based participatory project carried out with a group of immigrant and refugee youth in Victoria, Canada. The study traced the progression of the three action research stages carried out to find ways of using TfD to empower this vulnerable community. The documentation of this project was completed using Reflective Practitioner Case Study which enabled the researcher to reflect on her practice with the aim of improving her approach through critical analysis. The findings of this research do not support the researcher’s initial hypothesis that the development of theatre skills will enable the community to function independently of outside support. Instead, through the careful examination of the experiences of the young participants in the slums of Cairo, and the immigrant and refugee communities in Canada, this research points to the importance of TfD integrating the celebration of life and the development of relationships as part of its process of enriching the experience of marginalized communities. This finding, together with an examination of the notion of sustainability redefines the place of the exit strategy through the ways in which the immigrant participants of the latter phases of the study, chose to integrate the benefits of TfD practice into their lives.
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    Engaging the power of the theatrical event
    (2011-09-15) Weigler, William; Dobson, Warwick
    In this dissertation, I advance the question of what it means for applied theatre artists to give voice to the community members with whom they work. The study engages with some of the ethical and aesthetic tensions that emerge when one group of people (artists) is entrusted with giving dramatic form to the lived experience of another group (community members). The central premise of the dissertation is that when community participants increase their independent capacity to devise dynamic and compelling theatre, they achieve greater agency. Using a grounded theory analysis, I theorize qualities and characteristics that contribute to the staging of aesthetically arresting theatre, organized into a conceptual lexicon. This praxis-based study is intended to enable applied theatre practitioners to more directly give voice to their community partners. The dissertation presents a vocabulary that offers community participants and professional artists a mutually understood language with which to engage the power of the theatrical event.
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    Culturing performance: exploring performance elements in Québec folk culture
    (2009-12-17T17:48:09Z) Jamin, Kathryn Rose; Saxton, Juliana
    This study explores performance elements in Quebec folk culture events in the context of evaluating the resources needed to construct studies in québécois theatre history for Anglophone students. Using the metaphor of history as a map that charts the landscape of the past and needs many layers of information to do so effectively, resources dealing with Quebec theatre history in English and in French are surveyed and underdeveloped areas are marked for future research. To deal with the unusual circumstance of a very low incidence of theatre practice in Quebec from 1606 until late in the 1800's, juxtaposed against the vibrant and international developments in the last 50 years, three instances of Quebec folk culture are investigated for their performance elements. That research is structured in accordance with the guidelines and definitions in Living Folklore (Sims & Stevens, 2005). Performance elements revealed through the study include full body synchronized movements, mask and costume, improvisation, role-playing, choral work and monologues. The relationship of these events to present-day québécois theatre is analyzed.
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    Audience in performance: a poetics and pedagogy of spectatorship
    (2009-11-30T17:50:16Z) Prendergast, Monica; Saxton, Juliana; Miller, Carole S.
    This study is designed as a curriculum-based response to an urgent educational responsibility: How do we understand and respond to our ever-greater roles as audience members in a technologically, politically, culturally and economically performative society? The lived-through experience of the live performing arts offers a powerful medium for young people within which to find relevance and genuine connection with artists and artistic practice that is not generally available through mediatized forms of performance. This curriculum theory study, in implementation, has the potential to greatly improve the cultural literacy of future audiences for the performing arts. The paradigm shift in our culture from predominantly textual to predominantly visual creates a pressing need for aesthetic and critical understandings of the many ways we experience everyday life as audiences in performance. Live performance forms - theatre_ dance, performance art. opera. music - offer a crucial counterbalance to the prevailing forces of film, television and other mass media forms of performance_ These performing arts audiences are generally more challenged - aesthetically, affectively and cognitively - in their reception and interpretation of live performance. Also, due to the inherent nature of shared presence in live performance. the potential exists for authentic, meaningful interactions between performers and spectators in a way that is not possible in most media-based performance forms. A curriculum theory for audience-in-performance (AIP) involves an increased awareness of the presence, attention and witnessing activities of live audience. as revealed in aesthetic philosophy. Performance theory sees the alienation, commodification and dispersement of contemporary AIP, but also recognizes the potential for resistance, collaboration, participation and shared memory and meaning-making with performance. AIP curriculum theory consists of three parts: pre-performance (preparatory/ predictive): performance (attentive/interpretive); and post-performance (reflective/evaluative). The role and function of AIP is akin to that of choruses in Ancient Greek theatre, occupying the liminal space between audience and performance. AIP students prepare for performance as artists do, through the art form itself. and whenever possible in concert with performers. AIP curriculum theory_ also called pedagogy of the spectator, has six key characteristics: aesthetic, improvisatory, performative, critical, political and social. Successful implementation of AIP curriculum in the worlds of education and performance requires a greater understanding of performance by educators and of education by performers. It requires the placing performance studies into educational practice to enhance and improve student/teacher spectatorship of both culture and curriculum.