Last spring I went to Baliganapalli, Tamil Nadu in southern India to teach English and theatre. You can still read my sporadic posts from that experience on this blog.
Now I will be spending a year in London to pursue a masters in Applied Theatre at Central School of Speech and Drama.
Although I consider myself a theatre artist, the long-term goal that is most important to me is not primarily artistic. Rather, theatre is the perfect means to meet this goal: to create positive change in our communities and in individual’s lives. My experiences in theatre have been extremely formative; I cannot imagine who I would be had I not participated in theatre in junior high and high school. Probably a person less confident and compassionate. I have seen others transformed as well: kids too unsure of themselves to have a conversation at the beginning of the process proudly performing in front of a huge audience; students angry at the world and all those around them finding the support and love they need to forgive the world. I want to continue to facilitate these transformative experiences in others. I want to create a safe environment in which students feel supported to take creative, personal risks and to participate in open dialogue. I want to be a mentor for children as they work to develop their identity and actualize their place in the world. I want to use art and artistic training to help combat inequality in our world. I believe theatre, as a necessarily collaborative and compassionate art form, is an ideal tool for this work.
However, I think that using theatre this way is neither easy nor simple. I think that it requires caution, patience, and mindfulness. To hone these qualities I want to enter a community of people doing the same. So... back to school I go.
This is what Central has to say about the program: "The MA Applied Theatre encourages investigation into the possibilities and contradictions of drama and theatre practice as transformative and rehabilitative, and engages practically and critically with a range of theories and current practices....Students will explore the field’s diverse practices and engage creatively with the forms and aesthetics of applied theatre, the transformative potential of theatre and the ethics of intervention and notions of inclusive practice when working with specific groups. The units will focus on theatre practices that promote inclusion and will address the ways in which theatre can be an agent for change, enablement and transformation while problematising these terms."