Forum on Educational Theatre Preview #10

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Preparations for the Forum on Educational Theatre April 21-24, 2016 are well underway. To register, visit the registration page.

As we gear up for the event, we will post descriptions of some of the presentations–one of which appears below:

Paper: Why Performance Literacy? Why Now? Launching a Secondary Level Performance Studies Curriculum

We live in a highly dramatized world and performative society. What are the intellectual, emotional and physical effects, both positive and negative, of living in such a performance-driven world? How is the field of education responding to the fact that we are immersed in multiple and complex dramas and performances on a daily basis? What might a secondary level curriculum in performance studies offer young people as a way to develop their performance literacy; to individually and collectively investigate and engage with performance as a personal, collective, cultural and sociopolitical event?

The performance studies curriculum developed over the past 2 years and presented in this paper consists of seven thematic units. Within each unit, students are invited to consider how performance functions as 1) a form of human and nonhuman play, 2) as a ritual act, such as a wedding or funeral or rite of passage, 3) as part of the healing process, 4) as a medium for education, 5) as a site for identity formation and representation, 6) as the enactment of power and, finally, 7) as a way to better understand the experiences of everyday life. These are key concepts in performance studies and are a significant part of the skill set I am interested in developing in young people as performance literacy.

Monica Prendergast teaches undergraduate courses in elementary/middle school drama education, a post-degree secondary level course on drama and diversity, and graduate courses in curriculum studies. She works with graduate students in curriculum studies, interdisciplinary studies, language and literacy and applied theatre. Prendergast has received numerous Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grants (2004-2012), worked on a major Ford Foundation grant investigating learning through arts integration (2008-2010), and her small theatre company received a Capital Regional District Arts Development Project Grant (2012). She sits on the Faculty of Education’s Centre for Outreach Education Steering Committee and the Department of Curriculum & Instruction’s Strategic Planning Committee. Prendergast is also a member of her department’s arts education, curriculum studies and language and literacy communities.