Here’s another nice mess: using video in reflective dialogue research method

K. Hepplewhite

This account discusses ‘reflective dialogues’, a process utilising video to re-examine in-action decision-making with theatre practitioners who operate in community contexts. The reflexive discussions combine with observation, text and digital documentation to offer a sometimes ‘messy’ (from Schön 1987) dynamic to the research and provide multiple insights through reviewing the working processes. This account presents the method, along with examples from reflective dialogues with a selection of practitioners and critique of the processes. The account toys with this interplay of practice/research/reflection and attempts (albeit temporarily) to impose a structure to configure the mess. In seeking to re-inform the practitioners and potential practitioners in applied theatre, the reflective dialogues have generating their own web of messed up research-of-reflection-on-practice.



All gender is a performance, all performance gendered

Kathleen Gallagher

Reading the full Research in Drama Education (RiDE) themed edition on Gender and Sexuality, at one go as I have done, makes for an especially interesting experience. One gets an immediate sense of the expanse of the terrain as well as, in this case, an unanticipated coherence across vastly different geographic, cultural and institutional landscapes and theatre practices. There is shared theoretical language – a queer, feminist, post-structural language – introduced by the editors and followed through by several contributing authors. There is also a reflexivity shared by many of the writers contemplating the work they have observed, or engaged in, across both the developed articles and shorter accounts of practice/performance that come at the end of the issue. In these pages, gender and sexuality seemed no longer a special, abstruse ‘lens’, but rather a way of uncovering the scripts of the everyday and our own deep implications in them.


A state of health? Constructive dialogue and the rhythms of international youth theatre

Simon Parry

This article examines youth theatre as a mode of promoting public dialogue within situations of political tension or conflict. It reflects on the author’s own experience of trying unsuccessfully to find a framework to evaluate an European Union supported theatre project, youth/art/peace/network, which took place in Austria, Israel and Palestine in the late 1990s. In the context of this reflection and the author’s attempts to address the challenge of finding an evaluative framework and mode of analysis, the article combines a critical account of Habermas’ notion of communicative reason inspired by Iris Marion Young with Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis. It argues that understanding drama practices in rhythmic terms provides potential for evaluating the complex spatio-temporal relationships the practices might have with everyday life. Through focusing on the presences and absences of particular people and things, such evaluation shows up the risks of performing a misleading or coerced state of health. The article suggests that the problem in this case was underpinned by a restrictive or exclusionary understanding of constructive dialogue at odds with participants’ daily experience. However, the analysis also points more optimistically towards the potential of monologue and particular proxemics of co-presence in finding modes of performance to represent such experience.


Communicating through humour: A project of stand-up comedy about science

Bruno Pinto, David Marçal, Sofia G. Vaz

A study of a project on science stand-up comedy developed in Portugal between 2009 and 2013 is presented, in which thirteen scientists, coordinated by a science communicator and a professional actor, created and presented comedy acts. Eleven of these scientists were asked about their motivations to participate, the process of performance development and the perceived value of the project. Personal motivations were highly important, but professional reasons were also mentioned. Working in a group with the guidance of coordinators, testing and re-writing the texts and gradually gaining confidence on stage were considered fundamental in the development of the shows. Additionally, a questionnaire revealed that the audience, most of whom were young adults, and held a higher education degree, were satisfied with the show. Overall, both participating scientists and audience members considered that stand-up comedy has potential for science communication.