Can the aesthetic quality of theatre be combined with its therapeutic benefits to improve well-being?

Oakley, Lauren (2012) Can the aesthetic quality of theatre be combined with its therapeutic benefits to improve well-being? BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This dissertation is an investigation into the therapeutic benefits of drama and questions whether drama as an art form can both be aesthetically pleasing as a source of entertainment in addition to having the capacity to improving well-being. The idea that theatre can have therapeutic benefits is discussed throughout. Therapy is means of remedying a health problem and this dissertation discusses the idea that drama, in particular, can be a therapy for improving general well-being. Dramatherapy is at the core of the research gone into this piece of work especially the nine core processes Phil Jones presents in his book, Drama as Therapy, Theatre as living, which are areas of drama and theatre recognised by dramatherapists as having therapeutic benefits. Dramatherapist, Sue Jenning's research has been invaluable to this dissertation in discussing how drama enables us to distance ourselves from areas of life that we may find too difficult to deal with and the influence ritual had on its formation. Additionally, contact with a practising drama therapist (Appendix 1) has supported this dissertation in highlighting the specific ways drama therapy is able to heal its patient. Practitioner Augsto Boal's work has significantly contributed to the writing of this dissertation, especially his writings on, The Theatre of the Oppressed' suggesting that participation in theatre enables us to free ourselves from oppressiveness. The idea that drama, in particular, can produce a liminal state in which a transformation is possible by processes such as catharsis is central to this dissertation and Erika Fischer- Lichte’s book The Transformative Power of Performance: A new aesthetics has been a crucial text for this investigation. Lichte’s book deals with how performance can have a transformative effect rather than just being an art form for entertainment. This piece of work discusses some problems of therapy and drama for everyday well-being and questions whether drama can indeed be therapeutic or whether drama therapy is a completely separate field more linked to psychotherapy. The motivation behind this dissertation comes from the idea that drama is an essential tool for helping improve a community's well-being by affecting the individual through its transformative potential in both workshops and performances where a liminal state is achieved.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2014 15:21
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:32

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