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Why use theatre and drama?

Using participatory theatre and drama (such as Tapestry) is a good way to support young people in exploring sensitive and contentious issues. It serves not only as a stimulus for further discussion and debate, presenting potential real life scenarios, but it also provides a context for the immediate expression of ideas, opinions, questions and experiences by participants.

Working through drama can provide opportunities for authentic teaching and learning. That is where young people voice their opinions, express their feeling and make genuine choices within a meaningful context that relates to real life.

Good drama provides no right and wrong answers, instead young people are encouraged to speculate, say what they think and feel, share experiences, make choices and to reflect upon the consequences and implications of any decisions taken. In this way they are supported in coming to informed choices, making decisions about what they consider to be the ‘right’ course of action and formulating their own moral judgements. This takes place with a full awareness of the potential impact of these.

Drama can accommodate different learning styles – for those whose learning style is kinaesthetic, spatial and interpersonal, drama provides opportunities to learn through discussion and debate, physical expression and group work, rather than simply through reading or writing.

Drama also provides its participants with safety and protection. Because it uses a fictional context to explore sensitive issues and because it is the character’s situation and choices that are placed under scrutiny, it allows the participants to draw on their own experiences without ever being put on the spot themselves. Working in this way allows participants to practice strategies and try out ideas in the knowledge that there won’t be any real life repercussions. At the same time they are able to make connections between what they have learned in the fiction and apply it to the real world.

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