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'Actup!' Theatre as Education and its impact on Young People's Learning

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posted on 2010-09-21, 14:01 authored by Nalita James
This paper presents the findings from a study which explores the role of theatre as a site for learning in a community context and how it can provide informal learning opportunities for young people experiencing social exclusion. The study involved 'Actup!' a theatre group for young people on Leicester's Saffron Lane Estate and run by Speakeasy Theatre Company. Observations, interviews and visual records were used to explore practitioners' and young people's experiences of 'Actup!' The research findings suggest that theatre as education has a number of important functions for these young people. Using structured processes such as rehearsal techniques and exercises that involve the experiences of young people, theatre can positively contribute to the transmission of their skills development, influencing and supporting intellectual development, as well as empowering them to affect change in their own lives by opening up further education (FE) opportunities. This also highlights the importance of theatre as an art form and how its application outside of a formal education setting allows space for the exploration of personal experience and self-reflection through a kinaesthetic process. The paper concludes by recognising the need to undertake a longitudinal examination of how theatre as education can support and transform young people experiencing social exclusion and the importance of developing links between FE and other types of educational providers in developing learning provision that can provide a pathway into further learning.



Centre for Labour Market Studies, Working Paper 46

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Centre for Labour Market Studies


Centre for Labour Market Studies, University of Leicester

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This paper was published as Working Paper 46 by the Centre for Labour Market Studies, University of Leicester. It is also available from

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CLMS Working Paper;46



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