Environmentalism, stories and science: exploring applied theatre processes for sustainability education

Susan Davis, Michael Tarrant

The 2012 Research in Drama Education (RiDE) themed edition on Environmentalism (Heddon and Mackey 2012) and the response by Forgasz (2013) draws attention to some of the issues and dilemmas that arise when considering how to work with Applied Theatre practices to explore human/environment relationships, climate change and sustainability issues. This response shares initial findings from a pilot programme that has involved undergraduate students participating in a study abroad programme with a particular focus on sustainability education. Some of the dilemmas faced include balancing the provision of ‘scientific’ and environmental learnings within site-specific experiences and those that aim to provide a sense of connection to place and environment. Other issues for consideration include the purpose of using fictional frames when the real-life frame is already quite powerful. This is particularly so when working with students who are not drama or arts students.

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