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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Research in three acts : approaches to developing reserarch-based theatre Lea, Graham Walter


This thesis explores the artistic development of three research-based theatre productions at The University of British Columbia faculty in 2009. Each was developed using one of the three approaches to research-based theatre identified in the literature: collective, combined:collective/playwright, and playwright-centered. The experience of working in each of the three approaches is closely examined in this descriptive / exploratory case study (Winston, 2006, p. 49) based primarily on my critical reflections. The discussions of the projects are stylistically independent; however, each is guided by two central questions (1) how meanings are constructed in each approach and (2) how each approach may create and inhibit meaning-making. In the first chapter, I propose research-based theatre as an umbrella term for the use of theatre in research. I also identify three approaches to developing research-based theatre and situate them in using examples from both scholars and theatre artists. The discussion of Drama as an Additional Language in chapter two attempts to weave research-based theatre with a/r/tography. Chapter three focuses on Naming the Shadows, exploring the complexities of adding additional artists in the playwright-centered approach. The development of Centering the Human Subject is used in chapter four to develop a scribe–artist continuum upon which the development of productions using the combined:collective/playwright may be better understood. The final chapter weaves script and prose to theatrically explore issues which cut across the three discussions and offer suggestions for further research and inquiry. 

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