Hoods : creating political theatre for young audiences

Betzien, Angela Jane (2007) Hoods : creating political theatre for young audiences. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


My first exposure to Brecht and his theories was as a high school drama student. One of our year twelve assessment tasks was to write and perform our own Brechtian drama using three or more alienation techniques. I wrote a piece about Religion and Fundamentalism, an issue that I felt strongly about at the time. By carefully following my teacher’s instructions and adhering to the assessment criteria I received a VHA. I concluded from this experience that political theatre could be made by following a simple recipe and combining key ingredients. As my knowledge of theatre and my own creative practice developed I came to understand the great complexity of Brechtian theory and the extreme difficulty of creating effective political theatre, that is, theatre that changes the world. Brecht’s theories have been so thoroughly absorbed into contemporary theatre practice that we no longer identify the techniques of Epic Theatre as necessarily political, nor do we acknowledge its radical origins. I have not yet seen a professional production of a Brechtian play but I’ve absorbed on countless occasions the brilliant reinterpretations of Brecht’s theories within the work of contemporary dramatists. My approach to creating political drama is eclectic and irreverent and I’m prepared to beg borrow and steal from the cannon of political theatre and popular media to create a drama that works, a drama that is both entertaining and provocative. Hoods is an adaptation for young audiences of my original play Kingswood Kids (2001). The process of re-purposing Kingwood Kids to Hoods has been a long and complex one. The process has triggered an analysis of my own creative practice and theory, and demanded an in-depth engagement with the theories and practice of key political theatre makers, most notably Brecht and Boal and more contemporary theatre makers such as Churchill, Kane, and Zeal Theatre. The focus of my exegesis is an inquiry into how the dramatist can create a theatre of currency that challenges the dominant culture and provokes critical thinking and political engagement in young audiences. It will particularly examine Brecht’s theory of alienation and argue its continued relevance, exploring how Brechtian techniques can be applied and re-interpreted through an in-depth analysis of my two works for young people, Hoods and Children of the Black Skirt. For the purposes of this short exegesis I have narrowed the inquiry by focusing on four key areas: Transformation, Structure, Pretext, Metatext.

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ID Code: 19238
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Hamilton, Jillian G.
Keywords: theatre for young people, political theatre, Brecht, Boal, Epic Theatre, Forum Theatre, play structure, transformation, pretext, metatext, alienation effect, Living Newspaper
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 27 Mar 2009 04:34
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2011 13:53

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