Dr. Monica Prendergast is an Associate Professor of Drama/Theatre Education, Department of Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Victoria.
Her research interests include 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 accessible free e-book Web of Performance: An Ensemble Workbook (with Will Weigler) looks at the field of performance studies involves much more than actors on a stage. It is based on the idea that nearly everything we do is related to performing.
The book is called ‘The Web of Performance’ because, like a spider’s web, performance connects at multiple points to everything around it. Once you begin to understand how it all works—how performance is connected to all aspects of our lives.
If you love being involved in theatre and you’re also searching for opportunities to make a positive difference in your community, this workbook was written for you. You may think that theatre and all the other things you are passionate about represent different directions in your life, but they don’t have to be separate. They can converge in performance studies, a category of theatre based on the idea that nearly everything we do is related to performing. Once you begin to understand how performance is connected to all aspects of our lives, you can use that knowledge to invent, create, and build performance based activities that you can integrate into all the other interests that define who you are and what you want to do in your life.
This workbook has been designed and written for students in high school and university who may be interested in how performance works. The chapters cover broad topics drawn from the field of performance studies, an academic field developed out of theatre studies, anthropology, sociology and cultural studies in the 1980s and 1990s. Web of Performance covers key topics in performance studies: Performance as a form of Play, Ritual, Healing, Education, Power, Identity and Everyday Life. Each of these topics works like a web, inviting students to explore in multiple directions, across many threads.