The Theatre Dance and Performance Training Blog is creating a new section to investigate the role of training in applied and community theatre. We are looking for contributions from practitioners, scholars, teachers and others interested in exploring the intersection between training and community for instance, how training might be used in relation to theatre for social change, the relationship between training and some of the prominent themes of applied practice, or how we train for working in the community.
Augusto Boal discusses training bodies in the practices of Theatre of the Oppressed as a form of consciousness raising. He describes using theatre to train the body of the participant:
That is, to take them apart, to study and analyse them. Not to weaken or destroy them, but to raise them to the level of consciousness. So that each worker, each peasant understands, sees, and feels to what point his body is governed by his work (Boal 104).
Training allows the participant to become aware of how alienation has impacted upon her body: how economic, cultural and social structures mark the body. Training is a training in noticing how the world marks the body and accordingly changes the subject’s relationship to the world.
Through the blog we want to explore the complicated relationship that training has to practice in non-professional settings, considering the broader questions that this practice raises in terms of representation, cultural recognition, power and domination and social change. On the one hand, following Boal, training can be an act of consciousness raising, re-distributing skills and resources and accordingly giving participants the means of the production (bodily and vocal production). On the other, training can be a homogenising practice, eliminating cultural difference and perpetuating certain dominant ideas of ‘correctness’. The blog will explore the complexity of training, neither dismissing it as culturally domineering, nor fetishizing its value or social good. Continue reading
Maria, Bryan and I are delighted to welcome three new members to the blog team.
Our new team members enhance the geographic diversity and the range of expertise of the existing team, broadening the blog’s diversity. Our two new editors are Sarah Weston, a recent PhD graduate of the University of Leeds and I-Ying Wu, a self-employed artist and freelance researcher based in Taiwan and Canada who recently completed their PhD at the University of Northampton in the UK. We also have a third new team member, Nazlıhan Eda Erçin, an advanced PhD candidate at the University of Exeter, who will be occupying an Assistant Editor role as she has just moved to the USA for a new post. Continue reading
‘This notion that the leader needs to be ‘in charge’ and ‘know all the answers’ is both dated and destructive… Fear leads to risk aversion. Risk aversion kills innovation.’ Peter Sheahan in Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly.
In my first few weeks as a teacher in a private English language school in Italy, the Assistant Director of Studies ushered the first-timers into an empty classroom, and gave us some advice.
‘Never, ever respond to a question from your students with the words ‘I don’t know.’ Never tell them you don’t know something, and never tell them that you’re new to this. I know. It’s not fair. Everyone has to start somewhere right? But if they doubt their teacher, then they doubt the school. In their eyes at least, you must know everything.’
At the time, I took this as sound advice from a far more senior and experienced colleague who wanted the best for both us and the school. I mean…it makes sense, right? No student wants their teacher standing in front of them lamely doing a goldfish impression when there’s an important exam looming. What I see now, though, is that this ‘advice’ potentially killed a lot of the creativity and spontaneity I may have started to cultivate in my early teaching career, and instead cultivated an aversion to risk in my teaching practice that would prove very difficult to shake off. I quickly gained a reputation for my results-focused meticulousness and for always having a ready explanation. Continue reading