Between the aesthetic and the ethical: analysing the tension at the heart of Theatre in Education

Journal of Moral Education 34 (3):309-323 (2005)
Abstract
Theatre in Education is a recognized form for exploring ethical issues in schools. Although the relationship between functional, didactic objectives and theatre artistry is recognized as complex and difficult, there has been little analytical work to elucidate its nature. This article takes the form of a case study intended to illuminate this tension by analysing a play that toured recently in secondary schools in Birmingham, UK. It concentrates on two aspects of this particular performance: its transgressive elements ? the way in which it played with the boundaries of institutionalised values ? and the features of its narrative that tended, in Eco's term, towards an aesthetic of openness. Rather than attempting to offer a clear?cut theory, this article examines how these essentially theatrical elements of the performance meshed with the play's ethical agenda. I conclude that, despite the risks of transgressive play, it was the playful and open aspects of the enacted narrative that energized the students' moral engagement and subsequent reflection, and suggest that this has implications for moral pedagogy beyond the field of theatre
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Joe Winston (1999). Theorising Drama as Moral Education. Journal of Moral Education 28 (4):459-471.
Jonathan Levy (2005). Reflections on How the Theatre Teaches. Journal of Aesthetic Education 39 (4):20-30.
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