Leeds Beckett University
2 files

I Act Therefore I Become: Dramatherapeutically Informed Drama Teaching

posted on 2023-07-04, 10:23 authored by Jeanne RobertsJeanne Roberts
This thesis considers the influence of the classroom environment and wider socio-political discourses on the embodied psychosocial-relational processes involved when students create identity-expressions in a dramatherapeutically informed mainstream curriculum-delivery drama classroom. Therefore, this thesis considers: how the classroom environment and the contents and themes of student drama relate to the wider performative and neoliberal social-political-economic context; the ways in which incompatible classroom and policy-demands influence teaching/classroom choices; and the impact those choices have on student identity-forming work. This Practitioner Enquiry followed the curriculum drama of one mainstream class of year-9 students for an academic year. The parameters of the research design were constrained by teaching pedagogy and classroom context. Analysis was via abductive synthesis of 4-part story structure, grounded theory, and discourse analysis. Following a scrutiny of the embodied psychosocial relational processes that underpin the negotiation of identity performance, the findings show that the drama change process is not located in the dramatherapy core processes per se but in the embodied psychosocial relational processes for which the dramatherapy core processes function as a vector, and that those negotiations take place in dialogy between the dramatherapy core processes, not in individual core processes in isolation. The 4-part structure makes the relational process visible and includes: encoding as multiple protagonists; developing the fiction; identity work – values exploration and negotiation; and cyclical re-roling and reflection. Students, whose self-narratives took shadow, consolidatory, exploratory/emancipatory, and aspirational trajectories, developed diversified role repertoires. The findings show that in group work, aesthetic distance, which mediates relationships between individual, group, and material should be conceptualised as a network not a continuum. Teacher use-of-self choices influenced student identity-work through structural, interpretational, technical, and relational means, including being both audience and witness to students. This thesis should be of interest to teachers of all disciplines including drama teachers, dramatherapists, education policy-makers, teacher-trainers, and administrators.


Qualification name

  • PhD


Hunter, Shona ; Dobson, Tom

Awarding Institution

Leeds Beckett University

Completion Date


Qualification level

  • Doctoral


  • eng


Leeds Beckett University

Usage metrics

    LBU Theses and Dissertations


    No categories selected



    Ref. manager