Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Applied Drama: An Open Letter

Originally posted on September 27, 2011

There is a new field emerging that might best be called “Applied Drama” or “Applied Theatre,” but it doesn’t really know it yet. It’s a term for a wide variety of endeavors that use drama to promote personal and group consciousness. There are a few academic departments that use terms like these, but it still remains unclear what should be included or not—at least within their own curriculum. I see it as including most (or all?) of the following, including: Theatre of the Oppressed; Bibliodrama (re-enacting stories from sacred or commonly shared texts, stories, myths); psychodrama (especially as applied beyond the context of “therapy” per se, such as in education or business); sociodrama; drama therapy (which, like psychodrama often transcends the boundaries of what sociologists call the "sick role:” Playback Theatre; drama in education; improvisation in business and organizations; and other forms described in my anthology: Interactive and Improvisational Drama: Varieties of Applied Theatre and Performance.

What is needed is more articles written about what is being done, whether published in journals or (better) published and accessible on websites. The problem is that many practitioners are do-ers more than writers-about, although there are some few—often students, associates, etc.—who we may empower to function as journalists: What’s happening? The more we can use the medium of the written word, the more other people far beyond the oppressive (? word) and tragically limiting boundaries of having to be present in real time and space can enjoy the harvest of insights, the benefits of techniques. I want more people to say, first, “Whoa! Can you DO that?” and second “I want to learn how to do that, too!”

If you are doing anything in this direction, email me! I want to help network and develop the potentials of this field, which I think can contribute to consciousness expansion and experiential learning—and it has all sorts of other advantages. I want to get more folks involved, ordinary people who didn’t know they could feel the enjoyment and empowerment of improvised enactment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *