Kelly Freebody: Distance through critique: Moving beyond the ‘common-sense’ of drama for social change

This paper urges us to use a critical lens to distance ourselves from common-sense understandings of what we do and why

This paper urges us to use a critical lens to distance ourselves from common-sense understandings of what we do and why. It unpacks key logics in our field – including participation, community, social justice, and education – to attempt to uncover how the ‘truth’ about what we do has come to be understood. Drawing on recent research this paper explores the results of a poststructual discourse analysis of documents about applied drama concerned with social change. It will draw on literature and practices in the areas of applied theatre, community theatre and drama education to present an ‘outside’ perspective, and consider the extent to which some writing for/about applied theatre can be viewed as ‘policy proposals’, used by institutions and governments to provide ‘solutions’ to social ‘problems’.

Kelly Freebody:
Senior Lecturer in Drama Education and Education Director at the Sydney School of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney. Her research focuses on educational drama, social justice, creativity in education and school-community relationships. Her teaching interests include drama pedagogy and teacher education. Her recent volume Drama and Social Justice (with Finneran, 2016) is available through Routledge.

Tegan is a strong advocate for the development of Theatre and the Arts in community settings and has been involved with numerous Applied Theatre programmes throughout her professional training and experience. Tegan graduated with a Master of Arts with Distinction in Applied Theatre from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She has professional experience in Community Performance that promotes Young People’s expression and engagement through Puppetry and Theatre practices. As well as collaborating and performing with ERTH Visual & Physical Inc and Welsh theatre company PuppetSoup, she has co-directed and worked alongside Shop Front Arts Co-Op Junior Ensemble of 8-14-year old’s to create the original devised production, The Unknown. Tegan is currently working as Teaching Artist for Sydney Theatre Company’s ‘School Drama’. This is a Teachers Professional Development Program designed to improve teaching and learning by modelling the use of drama-based strategies with quality children's literature.