Language in Performance

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In most academic settings, Theatre and Language Studies departments very rarely cross paths, thus failing to engage in intellectual exchange and interdisciplinary cross-pollination. Yet, although language is, more often than not, the medium of performance, it is seldom invited on the stage when it is considered a ‘foreign’ language. In this chapter we report on a situation-oriented educational framework during which students with a common interest in theatre, foreign language, and cultural studies were brought together over the course of a semester to take part in the design of a staged linguistic, historical, and cultural production. Using theatre as a vehicle to further knowledge in and understanding of late 19th century French history and civilisation, students researched and learned about the content by gleaning information from newspaper articles, caricatures, court documents, and major authentic literary and political reports and speeches. They gave a voice to major and minor characters of the ‘Dreyfus Affair, ' bringing together a wealth of information juxtaposed and delivered into an educational production of their own. They experimented with lighting, scenery and set construction, theatrical sound effects and tableaux vivants, props and costume design, and video and projection. They trained in movement, voice, and speech in a foreign language, never losing sight of the background content and topic of the course. They alternated between the roles of playwright, actor, researcher, and artist, tried their hand at many different things to eventually settle on their area of strength and passion. Theatre pedagogy, a field that integrates both art and education, opened up the world of stagecraft and led to exploring a variety of artistic vision and design in the tradition of Brazilian theatre practitioner Augusto Boal and educator and theorist Paulo Freire.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStaged Experiences
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781848883284
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Inter-Disciplinary Press 2014.


  • French
  • Performance
  • content-based curriculum
  • creative writing
  • cultural studies
  • language pedagogy
  • second language acquisition
  • theatre pedagogy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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