Forward Theatre: Futures Studies in Drama

Sabina Head (2010). Forward Theatre: Futures Studies in Drama MPhil Thesis, School of Education, The University of Queensland.

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Author Sabina Head
Thesis Title Forward Theatre: Futures Studies in Drama
School, Centre or Institute School of Education
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010-04
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Professor Peter Galbraith
Professor Nan Bahr
Total pages 190
Total colour pages 1
Total black and white pages 189
Subjects 13 Education
Abstract/Summary Abstract This study investigates the teaching of a Drama unit with the purpose of developing Futures Studies literacy in Year 12 students, who researched probable issues of the future. The students wrote and performed plays set in a chosen future, as examples of the hybrid genre of Forward Theatre, a theatre of the near future. I argue that the combination of the two fields has potential in terms of education in Futures Studies through the use of Drama as an exploratory tool and an expressive medium, when used for investigating futures issues and sharing futures concepts and topics. Furthermore, the potential of learning in and through Drama can be given range and depth by the inclusion of futures as a unit topic. Data for the research are provided through carrying out two studies. In the first study, I analyse the drama scripts written by the students for an assessment task in the Forward Theatre unit. As a group, the class studied futures concepts, tools and methods, and built a scenario of a future social context some 20-30 years hence, based on their research. Individual students each created characters, situations and storylines set in this scenario. The scripts are examined for their depth of engagement with the future scenario using causal layered analysis (CLA), a matrix that creates a space for examining thinking at four levels, from a descriptive litany of events at level 1, through perceptions of causal actions at level 2, to discourse at level 3, and finally the level of metaphor, identity and meaning at level 4. It examines the depth of the students’ exploration of the impact of a particular created future on their fictional characters. If the students use dialogue between characters to critique change and its effects at a deeper level of human existence, then their futures thinking is evident at that deeper level. Here the matrix is used vertically and horizontally for each script examined, comparing and contrasting the dialogue of different characters at various depths. In the second path, I analyse the responses to a set of surveys and interviews regarding the unit. The questionnaires were used to garner student critique of the unit topic and content. The CLA matrix is used to explore student responses, to see the depth at which they are responding to the questions. Here the vertical function is of primary importance for the purposes of this thesis. There is no application of a comparative analysis; therefore the horizontal function of CLA is not emphasised here. Content analysis is also of importance in this path, as the discovered themes are drawn out and applied to the relevant research questions. The two types of analysis render the data more useful by performing distinct but compatible functions. The results showed that the students’ creative writing engaged with the future scenario at various depths and sophistication of thought, and that their response to Forward Theatre as a genre was positive, affirming that it has potential in the drama classroom and with audiences. The report suggests that the unit may be adapted for use by others who wish to broaden students’ awareness of futures issues through the use of futures tools, techniques and concepts within the genre of Forward Theatre.
Keyword forward theatre, drama education, futures studies drama, causal layered analysis
Additional Notes colour page 190 landscape pages 105, 108, 115, 116, 118, 158 - 189

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Created: Wed, 08 Jun 2011, 20:48:02 EST by Ms Sabina Head on behalf of Library - Information Access Service