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’.
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.