Children's theatre : in search of an approach to theatre by children, for children

Wood, Margot (2005-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Children's Theatre, although appreciated by participants, has largely been marginalized, even by practitioners in theatre. It is still viewed as a lesser form oftheatre and as a dumping ground for resources from adult theatre. There are two main areas of focus as far as the field of drama for children is concerned. Both areas are based on the notion that play is an important and beneficial part of child development and that dramatic play is a natural development of free play. This study examines the similiarities and differences between the two approaches. The one area concerns itself with creative or educational drama where the child participates in drama activities, usually within a classroom situation. The other area, which is, in fact, the main focus of this study, concerns itself with theatrical presentation for children, i.e. Children's Theatre. Children's Theatre, with adults as the performers, is the most familiar form of Children's Theatre and yet, the one form which directly influences most children, in particular through participation in the school play, is Children's Theatre where children are the performers themselves, in other words, a form of participational theatre. This form of theatre has the potential for influencing children's lives immensely and yet it is often left to persons with no expertise in the field to lead such projects. The opportunity for truly enriching the participants' lives is often lost through poor methodology. Historically, the aims and values set for Children's Theatre have also undergone development to the point where a synthesis has been reached where equal emphasis is to be placed on the quality of the end product as well as the process by which such end product has been reached. A number of problems and issues specific to working in Children's Theatre are examined as they occur in different settings. These include problems concerning script, venue, the child audience and audience participation and problems dealing specifically with the process of directing a cast of children. Possible solutions to these problems are investigated. An approach, based on the theories of practitioners in the field, as well as the results of a number of practical projects, will be formulated. The practical projects will be used to investigate certain viewpoints expressed by practitioners in the field. The approach formulated should not only encourage work of a high artistic standard but should also be based on sound educational principles. Central to this is the approach and style of the director who, in Children's Theatre, is far more than just a director of a theatrical presentation. The director in Children's Theatre is always teacher and director at once.

AFRIKAASNE OPSOMMING: Kinderteater, alhoewel gewild onder deelnemers, is grootliks gemarginaliseer, selfs deur praktisyns in teater. Dit word steeds gesien as 'n mindere teatervorm en 'n stortingsterrein vir hulpbronne van volwasse teater. Daar is twee hoof fokusareas wat drama vir kinders aanbetref. Beide areas is gebaseer op die idee dat spel 'n belangrike en voordelige aspek van kinderontwikkeling is en dramatiese spel 'n natuurlike ontwikkeling van vrye spel. Hierdie studie ondersoek die ooreenkomste en verskille tussen die twee areas. Die een area fokus op kreatiewe of opvoedkundige drama waar die kind deelneem aan drama aktiwiteite, gewoonlik binne 'n klaskamer opset. Die ander area, wat die fokusarea van hierdie studie is, is gemoeid met verhoogaanbiedings vir kinders, dus Kinderteater. Kinderteater, waar volwassenes die spelers is, is die meer bekende vorm van Kinderteater en tog is Kinderteater waar kinders die optreders is, die vorm wat meer kinders beïnvloed, veral deur deelname aan die skoolproduksie. Hier is kinders self die optreders in 'n vorm van deelnemende teater. Hierdie vorm van Kinderteater het die potensiaal om kinders gewelding te beïnvloed en tog word dit dikwels oorgelaat aan persone sonder die nodige kennis op die gebied om sulke projekte te lei. Die geleentheid om kinders positief te verryk raak verlore as gevolg van swak metodologie. Histories het die waardes en oogmerke rondom Kinderteater onwikkeling ondergaan tot die punt waar 'n sintese bereik is waar klem gelê word op die kwaliteit van beide die finale produk en die proses waardeur die eindproduk bereik is. 'n Aantal probleme en kwessies wat eie is aan werk binne Kinderteater sal ondersoek word soos hulle voorkom binne verskeie opsette. Hierby word ingesluit probleme met teks, speelarea, die kindergehoor en gehoordeelname en probleme wat spesifiek handeloor die proses van regie vir kinders as spelers. Moontlike oplossing vir hierdie probleme salondersoek word. 'n Benadering gebaseer op die teorieë van praktisyns op die gebied sowel as die uitslae van 'n aantal praktiese projekte, sal geformuleer word. Die praktiese projekte sal gebruik word om die menings van praktisyns op die gebied te ondersoek. Die benadering moet werk van 'n hoogstaande artistieke gehalte bevorder en moet gebaseer wees op deurgronde onderwysbeginsels. Sentraal tot so 'n benadering is die aanslag en styl van die regisseur wat in Kinderteater veel meer moet wees as bloot 'n regisseur van 'n verhoogopvoering. Die regisseur in Kinderteater is altyd beide onderwyser en regisseur.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50296
This item appears in the following collections: