Real Fiction Theatre as Drama Education


Welsh, Scott Stewart (2016) Real Fiction Theatre as Drama Education. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This research explores the potential for the qualitative practice of ethno-drama to examine social issues in schools, such as social labelling, from a student perspective. I argue that the writing of ‘real fiction’ theatre, which involves observing and recording voices from the authors’ experience of others, can work in the lives of students to understand and express their social situation (Welsh, 2014). Nine students and three teachers from a state government secondary school participated in the research. The thesis utilises an issue-based theatre-making theory to approach social issues in education. Labelling, explored throughout, is characterised as a naming language and this definition is built upon and expanded through the application of practice-led playwriting research methodology. The outcome of the research includes interview data with student and teacher participants exploring the social phenomenon of labelling, both in terms of students being labelled by teachers and peer to peer labelling in the school context. Raw data were collected and presented in the form of original student writings created in a classroom engagement and a dramatic play including conflated versions of student participants’ monologues. This practice-led research impacts arts practice through its pedagogical engagement and education through its creative approach. In the data collection phase of the research, student participants had the opportunity to express themselves through monologue writing and this practice in turn provided vital data about how they view and behave in their social world. Student participants commented, through the practice of monologue writing, that the labels that matter to them are the ones used in their social world, in the schoolyard as opposed to the classroom. By conducting research through the use of a specific, practice-led methodology, based on the writing of theatre applied to a drama classroom, this work makes an original contribution to the field of practice-based and/or practice-led research in education.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
Historical > FOR Classification > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Education
Keywords real fiction, practice-led research, social labelling, ethno-drama, qualitative practice, secondary education, arts practice, labels, workshops, skits, writing, playwriting, plays, Victoria
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