Conversations with status and power: How Everyday Theatre offers 'spaces of agency' to participants
Aitken, V. (2009). Conversations with status and power: How Everyday Theatre offers 'spaces of agency' to participants. Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 14(4), 503-527.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3463
This article reviews Everyday Theatre, an interactive applied theatre project from Auckland based company Applied Theatre Consultants Ltd., which explores the dynamics of family relationships and touches obliquely on issues of abuse and violence. The article looks at the form, strategies and processes of Everyday Theatre and explores how the young participants are given opportunities for agency, both aesthetically and in terms of the structure and direction of the event. Beginning with an attempt to offer a critical framework for the discussion of power and status, largely informed by Freirean and Foucaultian principles, the article then traces how the power relations between participants and facilitators are negotiated in each phase of the programme. Whilst asserting that important spaces for agency are created within it, the article also discusses the inevitable limitations of participants' empowerment in any theatre, or pedagogical relationship. The article concludes with the suggestion that by offering deliberately incomplete narratives within a careful process that at once builds and productively constrains participant agency, 'The Family Game' offers a sensitive and fitting approach to the issue of children's agency within families.
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