Theatre roots, learning routes: educating through formal theatre productions in higher education – a self-study.
MetadataShow full item record
My study grew out of a desire to root my research in my creative practice as both drama lecturer and director of formal theatre productions in higher learning institutions. From my own lived experience, I knew that participation in such formal theatre productions as a student had played a significant role in shaping not just my drama education, but my sense of self. The interplay between these ideas generated my core research question: What is the value of formal theatre productions in a higher education context in relation to teaching and learning? In this study, therefore, I employ a personal history self-study approach to investigate the relationship between the two aspects of my role as a university lecturer in drama—teaching and directing—through interrogating formal theatre productions as sites of teaching and learning. This involves four areas of analysis: First, I explore my identity as a directorteacher, working on formal theatre productions in a South African institution of higher learning. Second, I examine the educational potential of formal theatre productions within the discourses of both dramatic education and broader educational theory in order to develop my personal educational philosophy. Third, I investigate the experiences of students who participated in formal theatre productions I directed, and colleagues who have co-directed such productions with me, using Creative Analytic Practice in the form of a data play to discover the kinds of learning that emerge from participation in such projects. Finally, I draw on these ideas to formulate a model for what I call Production-Based Learning and define a role for myself as a director-teacher. From my analysis, I identify eight different kinds of learning that emerge from participation in formal theatre productions: disciplinary, personal, interactional, emotional, expressive, responsive, cultural, and organisational learning. This demonstrates the power of formal theatre productions as facilitators of both disciplinary and life-learning, and indicates the potential of Production-Based Learning as a pedagogic practice for drama in higher education.