Monica Prendergast and Robyn Shenfield Bouchard: From theatre to performance studies: Collaborating on curriculum change with secondary level dramatic arts teachers

The implementation of a performance studies curriculum in secondary schools presents opportunities and barriers.

The implementation of a performance studies curriculum in secondary schools presents opportunities and barriers. Following from a federally-funded curriculum development project–that led to the publication of an Open Source ebook, “Web of Performance: An Introductory Workbook for Youth”. -this interview study was carried out with seven experienced dramatic arts secondary teachers in Greater Victoria in 2016-2017. Each teacher was asked to read a chapter of the performance studies curriculum and then participate in a semi-structured interview of 60 to 90 minutes in length. The interviews captured drama teachers’ responses to engaging in key concepts in performance studies (play, ritual, healing, education, power, identity and everyday life) as new approaches to their teaching practice. While these drama teachers did not generally have background knowledge or understanding of performance studies, their responses to teaching theatre in a more broad-based way (as posited in performance studies) were open-minded and positive.

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Dr. Monica Prendergast:
Associate Professor of Drama/Theatre Education, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, University of Victoria. Research interests: drama-based curriculum and pedagogy, applied drama/theatre, and arts-based research. Monica’s books include Applied Theatre, Applied Drama (both with Juliana Saxton), Teaching Spectatorship, Staging the Not-yet, and Drama, Theatre and Performance Education in Canada. Her new works include Web of Performance: An Ensemble Workbook (with Will Weigler) and Teachers and Teaching Onstage and Onscreen: Dramatic Depictions (with Diane Conrad).

Robyn Shenfield Bouchard:
Drama teacher who has taught in public and independent schools in Australia and Canada, and at the undergraduate level to pre-service elementary school teachers. She holds undergraduate degrees and a MEd from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, and is currently working towards her PhD in Drama Education at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.

An Applied Theatre Practitioner with experience in international Drama Education, Community Theatre and Theatre for Development, Chris’ ongoing research interests centre around the documentation of Community Performance practice for the purposes of monitoring & evaluation, advocacy and training. Recent projects include facilitating participatory documentation of Community Circus, Dance, Theatre and Storytelling practice in Ethiopia, South Africa and Zambia, documenting large conferences around the world, as well as conducting Impact Assessment studies for organisations in the UK and USA. His other work includes Arts-based Curriculum Development consultancy, as well as authoring other Evaluative Research projects.