1st Edition

On Access in Applied Theatre and Drama Education

Edited By Colette Conroy, Adelina Ong, Dirk J. Rodricks Copyright 2020
    164 Pages
    by Routledge

    162 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores and interrogates access and diversity in applied theatre and drama education.

    Access is persistently framed as a strategy to share power and to extend equality, but in the context of current and recent power struggles, it is also seen as a discourse that reinforces marginalisation and exclusion. The political bind of access is also a conceptual problem. It is impossible to refuse to engage in strategies to extend access to institutions, representations, buildings, education, discourse, etc. We cannot oppose access or strategies for access without reinforcing marginalisation and exclusion. We can’t not want access for ourselves or for others. However, we are then in danger of remaining immersed in a distribution of power that reinforces and naturalises inequality as difference. For applied theatre and drama education, the act of creating, teaching, and learning is intrinsically connected to choice, along with the agency and capacity to choose. What is less clear, and what still interests us, is how the distribution of power and representation creates the schema for an analysis of access and diversity.

    This book was originally published as a special issue of Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance.


    Colette Conroy, Adelina Ong and Dirk Rodricks

    1. ‘Talking back, talking out, talking otherwise’: dementia, access and autobiographical performance

    Janet Louise Gibson

    2. Streets, bridges, cul-de-sacs, and dreams: does inviting shelter dwelling youth to work with culture industry professionals engender a sense of ‘cruel optimism’?

    Selina Busby

    3. Homegrown censored voices and the discursive British Muslim representation

    Roaa Ali

    4. Access through the shadows: lessons from applied performance practice research at the borderlands

    Dirk J. Rodricks

    5. Enhancing relaxed performance: evaluating the Autism Arts Festival

    Ben Fletcher-Watson and Shaun May

    6. Creating welcoming spaces in the city: exploring the theory and practice of ‘hospitality’ in two regional theatres

    Rachel Turner-King

    7. Invited hauntings in site-specific performance and poetry: The Asylum Project

    Petra Kuppers

    8. Interrogating wholeness through access aesthetics: Kaite O’Reilly’s In Water I’m Weightless

    Nina Muehlemann

    9. The limits of access: the messy temporalities of hope and the negotiation of place

    Adelina Ong


    Colette Conroy is an Associate Dean at the University of Hull, UK. She was a theatre director before becoming an academic. She is the author of Theatre & The Body (2010), and has published work on disability culture, performance, and sport in journals and books. She is the Joint Editor of the journal RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance and is co-editing a collection of essays about the philosopher Jacques Rancière.

    Adelina Ong completed her PhD at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, UK. Her thesis proposed a theory for compassionately negotiated living inspired by parkour, art du déplacement, breakin’ (breakdancing), and graffiti. Her research focuses on young people from low-income families who struggle with mental wellbeing.

    Dirk J. Rodricks is a PhD Candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, Canada. Committed to learning across difference through critical, creative, anti-racist, and de/colonial pedagogies, his research interests include multiply-marginalized young adult identity formations in transnational contexts, inter-generational ethno-racial and queer inheritances, and de/colonizing qualitative methodologies.