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Mirror, dynamo or lens? Drama, children and social change

By Jonothan Neelands

Abstract

In this talk I will outline a collection of metaphors in search of an idea that can express theatre’s potential as a form of social pedagogy and socialisation both for young people of school age and also for its other audiences and makers. In talking of a pedagogy of theatre I will borrow from the late John McGrath’s use of the term a ‘learning paedia’ which he succinctly distils into two main features:\ud Accuracy – the audience must recognise and accept the emotional and social veracity of what is happening on stage, must identify with the core situation, whatever styly may be used to present it.\ud Relevance – the core situation must reflect the central, most profound realities of its time, must speak to its audiences about a truth that matters in their lives, whether social, moral, political, emotional or individual I (McGrath 2002, p. 138)\ud To these features of truthfulness and relevance he adds the core principle that theatre should use all possible means to reach every citizen and not act as ‘an excluding agency, whether by the price of its tickets, the manner of its box office staff, its location or its impenetrability’ (ibid. p.139)

Topics: LB, PN2000
Publisher: Trentham Books
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:2723

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