Research-based theatre in educational context

Research-based theatre aims to present research in a way that is compelling and captivating, connecting with viewers on imaginative and intellectual levels at the same time. (Belliveau and Lee, 2016)

This colloquium will address the following key question:

Why create and perform research-based theatre and what is its relevance to education?

Experienced researchers and writers of research-based theatre Richard Sallis and Jane Bird will discuss their work in various educational settings addressing the following key points:

  • How research-based theatre, also known as ‘performed research’ or ‘performance ethnography’, can disseminate formal research findings through an accessible and social form of presentation to a broader community than standard academic outputs;
  • The ways in which theatre performance has the capacity to communicate the findings in cognitive, emotional and embodied ways to various audiences and for differing purposes;
  • How the artistic form of theatre and its conventions are manipulated to engage and focus viewers on the complexities of research findings.

Richard and Jane will illuminate this discussion with reference to their research projects in various educational communities and share excerpts of their performance texts.

Dr Richard Sallis is a senior lecturer in Arts (drama/theatre) education in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) at The University of Melbourne. Richard is a former President of Drama Australia the national drama educators’ association, a Life Member of Drama Victoria and the current Director of Publications, for IDEA (the International Drama/theatre in Education Association). His particular research interests include gender and sexualities in education and research-based theatre. He is currently co-editing a text on innovative drama research practices entitled: ‘Drama Research Methods, Provocations of Practice’.

Dr Jane Bird lectures in drama education at The University of Melbourne. She has investigated, developed and staged a number of research-based theatre works focusing on various educational settings for a range of purposes. Jane’s PhD investigates applications of performance ethnography as an educational tool within the LH Martin Institute Executive Leadership tertiary professional development program. Jane collaborated on an ethnographic performance Alice Hoy is not a Building that was performed at national and international research conferences and she has written journal articles and book chapters on the construction processes, aesthetic nature and educational potential of research-based theat