So, what is “Applied Theatre”?
Applied Theatre uses theatre techniques and practices as a catalyst for positive change.
Unlike a traditional theatre experience, applied theatre is more focused on the process of creation than on necessarily producing a performance. Rather, participants use transformative theatrical methodologies to envision and embody unrealized collective goals. It is a way to examine shared experiences, to collaborate, explore identity, and as a vehicle for exploring the space between knowledge and action. It may incite or inspire action from it’s audience/participants, educate them on a topic, or create a space for deeper inquiry and understanding. Typically, Applied Theatre does not insist on a course of action but rather uses the input and interaction of participants to create an outcome. Applied Drama, Drama in Education, Theatre in Education, Arts in Education, Socio-drama, Interactive Theatre, and Art and Social Justice are all terms associated with Applied Theatre.Applied Theatre has been used In schools to provide arts programming (Young Audiences is a classic example), or to teach another language (see Hong Kong’s Dramatic English) and social justice (Freedom Theater of Jenin); In therapy (Drama Therapy Program at NYU), and also used by the military to help combat veterans (Theater of War). It has been used in the political arena (Augusto Boal is a great place to start!) and to inform on political issues (San Francisco Mime Troupe), in prisons (Prison Performing Arts, St. Louis MO), and in healthcare (Kaiser Permanente Educational Theater) to name a few.