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’?
3. Homegrown censored voices and the discursive British Muslim representation
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
7. Invited hauntings in site-specific performance and poetry: The Asylum Project
8. Interrogating wholeness through access aesthetics: Kaite O’Reilly’s In Water I’m Weightless
9. The limits of access: the messy temporalities of hope and the negotiation of place