Thesis this change. We will do this

Thesis statement The aims and intentions of this essay is to discuss and evaluate the ways of how social change exists in applied theatre in non-traditional settings, as well as the educational, social and therapeutic mission of this change. We will do this discussion by under-taking an evaluation of theatre companies such as Crag Rats and organizations which work under Open Clasp theatre, Forum and Reminiscence theatre.  Theatre for social change is a non-traditional theatre developed in marginalized communities and it can be different in the area of scripting and polished improvisation. It can be applied across many cultures and tradition over time and people use the stage as a space and place to tell their stories and their lives-express concerns.  It is called applied theatre because it can be applicable in non-traditional settings such us popular and documentary theatre, theatre in education, theatre of the oppressed, theatre for health education, theatre for development, prison theatre, community based-theatre, museum theatre and reminiscence theatre. The aim and purpose of applied theatre is to create a practice that seeks to debate vital issues and see those concerns transformed into new stories or within unfamiliar settings. This is a way to provide people with a means to work their way through difficult transitory periods as an aid in seeing them safely into a new place or time. Theatre in education is always consisted by a small cast so actors must be versatile and often have to multi-role. It has a low budget so actors often play instruments too. There is some level of audience involvement in this kind of theatre. The costumes of the actors are simple and representational especially if actors have to multi-role and they may include facts and figures to educate the audience. The aim and purpose as well as the immediate intention of this kind of theatre is that it gave the opportunity to many theatre companies to create new programs for community outreach. These theatre companies were beginning to work in school settings therefore, the schools’ curriculum content became part of the challenge in creating theatre for these new audiences. Actors were working in classrooms with little production support and a small audience. Teachers had the opportunity for professional development and training in drama/theatre education. In applied theatre settings , a primary goal is to develop participants critical thinking skills which inevitably leads to change in understanding. This focus is aligned with the school’s goals to create change through education. One of the Aristotle’s most significant contributions to theatre was a theory based on exploration and contemplation of theatre practice. If theory is a form of knowledge and practice is the application of that knowledge then, artist educators enganging with acts that shape knowledge can be seen as theorists.  CRAG RATS as a theatre in education company delivers targeted programs to great effect, primarily due to the expertise and experience of the tutors in engaging and inspiring young people. Because they have always worked closely with schools and supported them in achieving their objectives, some time ago they began to change what they do. They do not only build students’ confidence and develop skills but also, gives them access to new experience, embed intellectual creativity and problem solving so that they had a chance to develop these skills. The social mission of the applied theatre under these non-traditional settings can be revealed through the work of some companies like the Open Clasp theatre. This company is a leading force in the North of England with a national and international reach. They collaborate with women and young women on the margins of society to create bold and innovative theatre for personal, social and political change. Their women-centred practice collaborates with women to draw out their collective voices and shine a light on their experiences. They create powerful professional theatre and perform to wide-ranging audiences. They encourage their audiences to walk in the shoes of the women and make space for debate. Our work is regularly performed in theatres, prisons, schools, conferences and community centres and most recently, Edinburgh Fringe and off-Broadway in New York to national and international acclaim. Their work resonates deeply into the communities where it is created and ensures that outside these communities, the under-represented are seen in a new light. They collaborate with researchers and leading policy experts and contribute to regional and national discourse. Their work has recently been performed at a unique event in the Houses of Parliament in 2016 using theatre as the most direct and impactful way of humanizing the issues of women who have experienced gender violence and the criminal justice system to support policy change and critical debate. Another kind of applied theatre which works under this social mission is the Forum theatre also known as ‘popular theatre’ or ‘participatory theatre’. This theatre is, a form of participatory arts and is, at base, theatre as democratic political forum. Each project is stimulated by a specific community’s experience of dis-empowerment and struggle, and the desire for creative solutions and capacity-building through egalitarian means. Forum theatre is designed to achieve this by, first, developing a conventional play that reflects the community’s lived experience of a chosen issue and culminates in unresolved crisis within that context. This play is then presented to the broader public in a participatory format such that the knowledge, aspirations and capacities of this public may be brought to bear on the exploration of viable solutions on the stage.  Several goals and values structure and guide this work. First and foremost, it is designed to be about, by and for communities struggling with oppression – though what is experienced as oppression is left open to definition by the community in question. Whether addressing the dynamics and effects of racism, addiction or domestic violence, whether speaking to external or internal obstacles and pressures.  Actors and audience alike “learn together,” as people are given the opportunity to explore, rehearse and test various possible solutions to proposed dilemmas on the stage (Boal 2002: 242). In so doing, it tries to create the conditions within which marginalized communities might shake off some of the “ideology of expertise” and discover, develop and validate local knowledge and critical capacity. This also alludes to a third aim of Forum Theatre: the development of expressive capacities and access of information beyond the merely verbal. Moreover, many of the games and exercises that are used during the workshop/rehearsal phase of Forum are designed to help community participants access and develop various modes of perception, expression and knowledge beyond those of conventional dialogue: the body, the image, the sonic, and the kinetic. A fourth normative goal of Forum Theatre is to enable clearer observation and reflection of everyday dynamics and dilemmas. As theatre allows audiences to examine more closely the various underlying forces, relations, motivations, and root causes behind lived experience, it provides a context for deepening understanding and imagining unexplored alternatives (Boal 1998: 7). This leads into a fifth major goal of Forum Theatre: the rehearsal of various forms of action within the safe space of the theatre prepares participants for action beyond the theatre. In examining the complexity of a given issue and possible strategies for effective response, Forum theatre “trains people for real action”, ideally awakening a sense of heightened capacity, creativity and desire to carry such practice into one’s own life.  As far as the therapeutic mission is concerned during the work of an applied theatre, drama therapy occurs within community settings and concerns the exploration of social issues and the implementation of actions intended to ameliorate distress and oppression. The forms of drama and theatre can include but are not limited to: free play, improvisation, storytelling and story making, role-playing, puppetry and mask, and theatre performance. Drama therapy, like other forms of theatre change, is hybrid in that it integrates drama/theatre and psychotherapy. Drama Therapists learn to work with a range of clinical populations, and they learn how to both encourage and contain emotional expression, process of their own therapy and supervision, learning how best to use their own personalities in the service of their clients. The majority of jobs in Drama Therapy are in community institutions that serve people challenged by conditions of poverty, disease and disability, oppression, racism, homelessness and trauma. Moreno, a physician, was less interested in practicing conventional medicine than in treating forms of oppression through the healing art of drama. Throughout a long career Moreno worked with, among others, traumatized war veterans, homeless children, mentally-ill adults, prostituted and prisoners. The psycho-dramatic role, and the best hope for the future of civilization, according to Moreno, is to train human beings to increase and develop the skills of spontaneity and creativity.  Moreover, another form of theatre which is known for its therapeutic use is the reminiscence theatre. People who work in this kind of theatre, use strategies and techniques of drama education to generate the recall of memories and experiences of older people. The purpose is to generate these memories and use them to engender further memories and story-making from their audiences. The way of doing this work is by tape-recording, written recollections, group discussion, individual interview, improvisations and pieces of writing. Some of the therapeutic uses were that women were able to revisit their sometimes painful experiences with humor and mutual acceptance.   In conclusion, we can see that applied theatre can be formatted in people’s lives in a very productive, therapeutic and developing way.  Both actors and audience respectively, can be helped in all aspects of their social lives through the work and practice of this kind of theatre.  In my opinion, the result of all the work people do by applying this module can be one of the best psychotherapy sessions.

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