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Voice, body, movement, ‘space’: Perspectives and pedagogical endeavours of three New Zealand secondary drama teachers in their new build spaces

Space is important to drama teachers and as Benade (2017a) suggests physical space can support their relational pedagogy. Historically New Zealand secondary drama teachers have had to ‘make do’ (Wright, 2021) with less than ideal, shared traditional auditoriums, and ad hoc spaces. Motivated by earlier practitioner research (Coleman & Thomson, 2021), this inquiry aims to understand the perspectives of New Zealand secondary drama teachers in their new build spaces. This research examines the new physical spaces being built in our schools and asks are they meeting the needs of these teachers? Qualitative in nature the research examines the narratives of three participants: Sue, Neta and Denise. Aligning with similar studies into the complex world of drama teachers (Ackroyd, 2007) three unique case studies were undertaken to address questions and gather evidence. Photographs were submitted by participants; two semi structured interviews were carried out and observations of a drama lesson were conducted concurrently. The thesis is written with a metaphorical framework familiar to drama teachers, the acting techniques of: Voice, Body, Movement and Space. Three key findings suggest that location, architecture and personal space of the physical areas affected the collaborative, relational and performative nature of the secondary subject ‘Drama’. These physical elements affected both participants pedagogy and the ability to deliver New Zealand secondary curriculum and assessments. The physical location of the drama space within the school affected the ability to find private creative space and collaborate with other learning disciplines. The architecture of the spaces, particularly the size, flexibility and style of the performance area contributed to participants capacity to do the work of drama and deliver curriculum. Participants that had agency in their new builds had positive perspectives about their spaces to assist in developing a safe and supportive environment for secondary drama teaching.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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