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Applied Theatre: Resettlement

Michael Balfour , Penny Bundy , Bruce Burton , Julie Dunn and Nina Woodrow edited by Sheila Preston and Michael Balfour

DOI: 10.5040/9781472522993

ISBN: 9781472533791

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The book offers a compelling combination of analyis and detailed description of aesthetic projects with young refugee arrivals in Australia. In it, the authors present a framework that contextualises the intersections of refugee studies, resilience and trauma, and theatre and arts-based practice, setting out a context for understanding and valuing the complexity of drama in this growing area of applied theatre.

Applied Theatre: Resettlement includes rich analysis of three aesthetic case studies in Primary, Secondary and Further Education contexts with young refugees. The case studies provide a unique insight into the different age specific needs of newly arrived young people. The authors detail how each group and educational context shaped diverse drama and aesthetic responses: the Primary school case study uses process drama as a method to enhance language acquisition and develop intercultural literacy; the Secondary school project focuses on Forum Theatre and peer teaching with young people as a means of enhancing language confidence and creating opportunities for cultural competency in the school community, and the further education case study explores work with unaccompanied minors and employs integrated multi art forms (poetry, art, drama, digital arts, clay sculptures and voice work) to increase confidence in language acquisition and explore different forms of expression and communication about the transition process.

Through its careful framing of practice to speak to concerns of power, process, representation and ethics, the authors ensure the studies have an international relevance beyond their immediate context. Applied Theatre: Resettlement contributes to new professional knowledge building in the fields of applied theatre and refugee studies about the efficacy of drama practice in enhancing language acquisition, cultural settlement and pedagogy with newly arrived refugee young people.

'What is particularly rare about this book is its complete tracking of one project (albeit divided into sub-projects) over time ... This concentrated and longitudinal focus is unique not only within Bloomsbury's excellent Applied Theatre series ... but within applied theatre studies more generally. ... This means that Applied Theatre: Resettlement is of equal value as a teaching text in terms of modelling large-scale project design and evolution as it is in terms of moving theoretical and methodological knowledge substantially forward in the area of applied theatre practice with asylum seekers and refugees.' Research in Drama Education