Performance, playwriting and pedagogy: teaching devised theatre in the digital age
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Education scholars Mark E. Engberg and Sylvia Hurtado state in their article "Developing Pluralistic Skills and Dispositions in College: Examining Racial/Ethnic Group Differences" that as the United States is becoming more diverse, the world is moving to a global economy and this trend creates a workplace demand for workers with pluralistic skills which in turn mandates that higher education address this need. Providing numerous opportunities for cultural exchange in several different contexts is significant in creating individuals who support a pluralistic society as well as thrive in one. Devising theatre is one such opportunity that allows students to explore their identity and the issues that arise from discussing global culture. Devising also gives students an opportunity to discover and experience some of these differences in our global society. In our information rich, digital age it is imperative that we discover how to teach live performance to students saturated by visual, auditory, and moving media. My dissertation explores how to create a pedagogy using devised theatre that not only recognizes the influence of the digital world on our students, but incorporates an interdisciplinary and multicultural approach that includes the use of technology to teach creativity and performance. This pedagogy will address how devised theatre provides a multicultural basis for ensuring inclusivity and how our digital experience can help break the barriers of isolation. Included in this dissertation is a brief history of devising that includes the influence of modern dance and musical theatre, something that devising history scholars have not yet given serious consideration. I investigate the impact that the now common televisual cyber culture has on our students and describe the use of technology in current performance practices. I conclude with describing how to create devising coursework that prepares individuals who can successfully maneuver in a global society with an aptitude for innovation and a continually developing social conscience.
Access is limited to the campus of the University of Missouri--Columbia.