Theatre people these days talk increasingly about theatre that is a ‘applied’. But what do we mean by applied theatre? What is theatre applied to and who benefits from the application? Does this application change the nature of theatre and can this in turn change the world?
These are just some of the questions that will be discussed by Prof. Peter O’Connor (University of Auckland) and Dr. Michael Anderson (University of Sydney) at the inaugural public seminar hosted by the Centre for Contemporary & Applied Theatre Studies, MIC, on Thursday 30th April.
The Centre for Contemporary & Applied Theatre Studies is a newly established unit at MIC which will be officially launched in Autumn 2015, when the first cohort of students will commence its new and innovative BA in Contemporary and Applied Theatre Studies.
Working closely the Lime Tree Theatre the Centre will offer academic programmes and conduct research in the area of applied and contemporary theatre in addition to running a series of public seminars over the next year on the themes of applied and contemporary theatre in Ireland and internationally.
According to the Centre’s director, Dr. Michael Finneran, “Applied theatre is understood in the context of the work of the Centre to be the study of drama and theatre across a range of practical applications and non-traditional settings. Contemporary theatre signals that the Centre will deal largely with current and emergent modes of theatrical production and reception”.
Dr. Michael Finneran is a senior lecturer in drama at MIC where he has been seconded from his position as Head of the Department of Arts Education & Physical Education to take up the post of Director of the Centre for Contemporary and Applied Theatre Studies. Having twenty years’ experience in the Arts-in-Education sector Dr. Finneran was recently nominated by the Minister for Education & Skills, Minister Jan O’Sullivan, T.D. to the High Level Implementation Group for the Arts in Education Charter. Dr. Finneran is a member of the editorial board and conference reviews editor of RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre & Performance, and also serves on the international advisory board of Applied Theatre Research. Michael’s research interests lie in drama education, applied theatre, critical theory, social justice and teacher education in drama. He was guest editor of a recent edition of RiDE (19:1) on the theme of ‘Borders & Translations’, and is currently co-editing a book on drama and social justice, to be published by Routledge in 2015. Michael is a member of the National Council for Curriculum & Assessment (NCCA) Board for Early Childhood & Primary Education in the Rep. of Ireland, and is a board member of the Lime Tree Theatre which he helped to establish in 2012.
Associate Professor Peter O’Connor is Director of the Critical Research Unit in Applied Theatre at the University of Auckland and an internationally recognised expert in applied theatre. His research has focused primarily on using applied theatre as a public education medium to address major social issues including public health, gender equity in schools and the development of inclusive, empathetic and critical school cultures. Recent applied theatre research includes national programmes on preventing family violence and child abuse and parenting programmes in Youth Justice Facilities. His work in Christchurch following the February earthquake has led to UNESCO funded research and programme development. In 2012 he was named the Griffith University School of Education and Professional Studies Alumnus of the Year. He is currently engaged in the ongoing debates about charter schools and the nature of quality public education. Peter was previously the National Education Manager for the Race Relations Office and the National Project manager for the Like Minds campaign with the Mental Health Foundation. His 2003 PhD on his work in forensic psychiatric units won the 2006 AATE Distinguished Dissertation Award in Washington DC.
Dr. Michael Anderson is Professor in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at The University of Sydney. His research and teaching concentrates the role of creativity, the arts (particularly drama) and play have on learning. This work has evolved into a program of research and publication that engages with arts classrooms directly. His recent publications explore how aesthetic education and research is changing in the 21st Century. These publications include Applied Theatre: Research (with Peter O’Connor, Bloomsbury, 2015). The research reported in these publications uncovers innovative linkages between drama, the arts play, creativity and learning that have the potential to significantly improve learning for young people. Michael was a drama a teacher and Creative Arts Consultant with the NSW Department of Education and holds senior positions in drama curriculum development and assessment with the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards. Currently Michael is Chief Investigator on an Australian Research Council major Grant: The Role of Arts Education in Academic Motivation, Engagement, and Achievement 2009-2015. Michael runs professional learning in creativity, communication, critical thinking and collaboration for diverse groups within and outside the university.
The Application of Theatre Public Seminar takes place on Thursday 30th April from 11.30am – 1.30pm in G08, Foundation Building. Admission is free and everyone with an interest in theatre is welcome. RSVP [email protected]
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