Educational Verbatim Theatre
: Developing student-centred playwriting for process and performance

  • Thomas Andrew Aldersey Coultas

    Student thesis: Masters by Research - CDU


    This project examines how to write a play about the “real-life” of young people within a secondary education framework. I have developed an approach that blends text drawn upon the “verbatim” theatre style of word-for-word sources in combination with creative writing informed by my pedagogical methods as a high school drama teacher and active practitioner within the South Australian secondary education system. The rationale for this new form is to understand the perspectives of young students, and to consolidate these perspectives by teacher-led responses that can shape the learning processes for the student cast and crew of the play, as well as the subsequent audience. I have named this hybrid form of playwriting “educational verbatim theatre”.

    The creative work produced in this project is a play script called An Image of Grace, performed by a student drama group in October 2016. I selected the topic of the play to connect to the “everyday life” of a secondary school-aged female Australian student, and hence to explore a topical issue that might not have found a place in the traditional classroom. The play examined the ongoing popularity of social media technologies, and in particular legal notions of consent in relation to image sharing on social media. I developed the script from verbatim interviews with a range of stakeholders – including students and teachers – and ethnographic methods. The play was workshopped with the student actors who would perform the play. My findings suggest that bringing a dual approach of verbatim technique and teacher-led creative writing becomes a valuable approach within the context of high school teaching, and ensures that discussions of topical issues to students can take place within the appropriate ethical frameworks established by the secondary school education system.
    Date of Award2019
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorGemma Blackwood (Supervisor) & Christian Bok (Supervisor)

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