Towards a Radical Pedagogy of Post-Dramatic Theatre

  • Ashley Wallington

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This research project makes an enquiry into post-dramatic theatre’s potential as a counter-apparatus for radical pedagogy. It argues that PDT enables its participants to coauthor acts of creative resistance outside of the usual hegemonic modes of theatrical production often prescribed for and expected of young people. Part One sets out to explore a range of intersections emerging between concepts of authenticity and postdramatic theatre through examination of four sites of convergence: realities, bodies, subjectivities and spectators. These: i) reveal post-dramatic theatre’s potential to assume critical frames on reality that might provide a foundation for the operation of a radical pedagogy of post-dramatic theatre; ii) deepen appreciation of post-dramatic theatre’s potential to enable an experiential, kinaesthetic and critical mode of being that facilitates immediate and embodied participation in radical pedagogic processes; and iii) clarify why concepts of subjectivation and representation might become key concerns of a radical pedagogy of PDT. The findings from this discussion are then mobilised in Part Two within a series of first-hand spectator accounts of examples of post-dramatic theatre that place children and teenagers at their core – namely, Victoria’s üBUNG (2003), Rimini Protokoll’s Airport Kids (2008), Ontroerend Goed’s Once and For All We’re Going to Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up and Listen (2008), Victoria’s That Night Follows Day (2009), Ontroerend Goed’s Teenage Riot (2010), Mammalian Diving Reflex’s Haircuts by Children (2010), Campo/Gob Squad’s Before Your Very Eyes (2012), Ontroerend Goed’s All That is Wrong (2013) and Boris Charmatz’s L’Enfant (2014). On one hand, these accounts provide underpinning field research aiming to deepen response to the question of how notions of authenticity might inform the practice of post-dramatic theatre and, additionally, they are examined to identify what they might offer to the investigation of PDT as an apparatus for radical pedagogy. Finally, from a first-hand perspective situated within the messy terrain of performance making, Part Three offers an account of an emergent methodology designed to exploit post-dramatic theatre as an apparatus for radical pedagogy in practice. This makes specific reference to three performance works that I have made with young people: All Straight in a Line or Wild Like Thorns (2012), Think of Me Sometime (2013) and Music to Be Murdered By (2014). This discussion culminates in Thirteen Theses on PDT as a Counter-Apparatus for Radical Pedagogy which provides a manifesto for practice, along with Notes for a Teacher Maker Towards the Realisation of a Radical Pedagogy of PDT which offers an overview of a selection of strategies and tactics used in the making of the works explored in Part Three. Both are intended as transferable frameworks for others to instigate their own radical pedagogic approaches.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorMargaret Ames (Supervisor) & Adrian Kear (Supervisor)

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