1st Edition

Ethnodramatherapy Integrating Research, Therapy, Theatre and Social Activism into One Method

By Stephen Snow Copyright 2022
    328 Pages 23 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    328 Pages 23 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Ethnodramatherapy explores the integration of the performance ethnography method, known as ethnodrama, with the principles and practices of drama therapy to establish a sound theoretical formulation for ethnodramatherapy, and considers its use as art, as therapy, as research and as a vehicle for social justice. 

    The book begins by defining ethnodramatherapy – an original synthesis created by the author through deep study and practice of Mienczakowski’s enthnodrama, combined with 35 years of his own practice and research in drama therapy, creative arts therapies and therapeutic theatre. The book describes the origins of ethnodramatherapy, along with its evolution and method. It then delves into applications of the practice highlighted by five case studies with different audiences in different settings. Subjects include adults with developmental disabilities, female adolescents in youth protection, caregivers for loved ones with mental illnesses and Chinese students exploring controversial issues of oppression in China. Complex ethical issues are reviewed and suggestions are made on how to deal with some of the challenging ethical situations that are likely to arise in the ethnodramatherapy process. What emerges is a powerful tool that harnesses theatrical art, ethnographic research and the clinical techniques of drama therapy to create a potential for emancipatory experience for both performers and audiences.  

    This exciting and dynamic synthesis of drama therapy, performance ethnography, theatrical art and social activism will be of interest to the whole community of theatre practitioners and scholars who use theatre to effect individual and social change, including the disciplines of applied theatre, theatre education, experimental theatre, performance studies, and, of course, drama therapy, psychodrama and the other creative arts therapies.

    List of Illustrations and Tables  Forewords  Preface  Acknowledgments  Part I: Background and Development  1. The Concept of Ethnodramatherapy and Its Origin  2. The Seedbed of the New Method  Part II: Applications  3. EDT With Female Adolescents in Youth Protection  4. The "Sex Ed." EDT Project at CAHD  5. The Experience of Caregivers for Loved Ones Who Have a Mental Illness  6. A Community-Oriented EDT Project on Mental Health  7. Developing a Six-Day Workshop Model for EDT in China  Part III: Ethics and Philosophies  8. Ethical Challenges in Ethnodramatherapy  9. The Philosophies Underlying Ethnodramatherapy  Part IV: Integration and Future Possibilities  10. Integrating Research, Therapy, Theatre and Social Activism into One Method  Glossary  Index


    Stephen Snow, Ph.D., RDT-BCT, is a drama therapist, a performance theorist and a theatre practitioner. He is Emeritus Professor of Drama Therapy at Concordia University, where he co-founded the Centre for the Arts in Human Development (1996) and the Graduate Drama Therapy Program (1997). Dr. Snow has received research awards from the Concordia University, the North American Drama Therapy Association, the American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and AMI-Québec Action on Mental Illness. His most recent work is in developing an integrative approach called ethnodramatherapy (EDT). His documentary on this work can be found on psychotherapy.net.

    "From phenomenology to sociometry, from tragic and comic catharsis to psychodrama and playback theatre, from Canada to China -- Stephen Snow unpacks, explains, gives examples, and develops the theories of Ethnodramatherapy (EDT). In this compelling book, Snow, a pioneer of EDT, powerfully links the personal to the social as he shows precisely how art can heal."

    Richard Schechner, Ph.D., Editor, TDR, University Professor Emeritus, New York University

    "Ethnodramatherapy invites us to reconsider the boundaries between art, therapy, research, activism. Dr. Stephen Snow offers compelling examples that illuminate the process of balancing ethical and aesthetic choices that will be of interest to theatre makers, drama therapists, and health practitioners committed to generating and translating research in ways that are meaningful to all involved. The result is a creative and original book that offers guidance and inspiration."

    Nisha Sajnani, Ph.D., RDT/BCT, Associate Professor and Director, Program in Drama Therapy, New York University

    "In this fascinating book, drama therapist Stephen Snow outlines step-by-step the process of ethnodramatherapy, an integration of ethnodrama and drama therapy (EDT). Ethnodramas provide the solution to the African proverb, 'Until the lion learns to write, every story will glorify the hunter.' EDT seeks nothing short of generating global changes by validating the client-storyteller as the expert. Therapeutic change comes for the previously unheard participant-actors as they explore their stories more deeply while devising the ethnodrama, and societal change ensues when audience members’ perspectives are revised after witnessing those stories. Snow emphasizes the crucial need for an ethical approach to all aspects of the work in order to protect the safety of participants, validate their stories, and more clearly communicate their message. Here process is as important as product."

    Sally Bailey, MFA, MSW, RDT/BCT, Professor, Director of Drama Therapy Program, Kansas State University

    "We are treated to the historical, theoretical and logistic development of ethnodramatherapy. We are also graced with Stephen's honesty about its triumphs, pitfalls, challenges and the profound potential and success of the model and its mission. Further, we are drawn in and care deeply about the projects, people and issues he describes and are humbled by the magnitude of complexities involved in finding and integrating the therapeutic team."

    Antonina Garcia, Ed.D., LCSW, TEP. RDT/BCT, Professor and Trainer of Psychodrama, Co-Author of Sociodrama: Who's in Your Shoes? 2nd ed.

    From the Foreword – Drama Therapy Perspective

    "Combining his decades-long experience in drama therapy and therapeutic theatre with his extensive training in performance ethnography, Dr. Stephen Snow offers a broad and scholarly exploration of the intersections of these fields, as well as close-up and concrete descriptions of his numerous collaborative productions. Infused with his natural skill at synthesizing, the book is inherently integrative, as is the form, ethnodramatherapy."

    Renée Emunah, PhD, RDT, BCT, Founder/Director/Professor, Drama Therapy Program, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, Author, Acting for Real: Drama Therapy Process, Technique, and Performance

    From the Foreword – Ethnodrama Perspective

    "Snow’s work is situated amidst some very contested and, frequently, marginalised academic discipline territories - but the project of ethnodramatherapy, in its theoretical and methodological construction, and in its voicing and expression of the lived realities of his health informants, overcomes neigh saying. It is a clear manifestation and undertaking of shared, positive social action."

    Jim Mienczakowski, Ph.D, Emeritus Professor, Curtin University, Creator, Critical Ethnodrama Method 

    From the Foreword – Theatre Arts Perspective

    "Stephen as theatre director, drama therapist, researcher or social activist was exceptionally good at changing hats and watching out for the wellbeing of the participants. There were often very difficult ethical and moral questions to be answered as issues surrounding the productions came up. He would often struggle between his various hats and somehow come up with the best compromise without losing theatrical clarity."

    Eric Mongerson, MFA, Emeritus Professor and Former Chair, Department of Theatre, Concordia University

    "Ethnodramatherapy is an exceptionally well-detailed resource that profiles its principles and practices through compelling descriptive, confessional, and analytic prose. […] Ethnodramatherapy documents Snow’s distinguished professional career as a theatrical artist and drama therapist, and demonstrates the power of the art form to create transformative healing and change. This book is an essential companion to related works in the genre by Baim (2020), Frese and Brownell (2020), Norris (2009), and Saldaña (2011)."

    Johnny Saldana, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus, The Qualitative Report, Volume 27, Number 5

    "There are many creative ideas on offer – relating to designing and implementing versions of methods such as interviews, focus groups or arts-based enquiry. However, this is all made especially alive by the act of Snow taking stock. Reading the book felt like spending time with many fascinating projects, theoreticians, researchers and participants: all analysed with thought and emotion by a skilled and able director, therapist, teacher and social activist."

    Phil Jones, Professor of Children’s Rights and Wellbeing, Head of Research, Department of Learning and Leadership, University College London, Institute of Education, Dramatherapy