The applied theatre practitioner as dialogic hero

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Mikhail Bakhtin proposed that a ‘hero is not only a discourse about himself and his immediate environment, but also a discourse about the world’. This short article examines the working practice of an applied theatre practitioner, drawing on Bakhtin’s interpretations of the hero and his writings on dialogism. Artist Kate Sweeney’s facilitation of a storytelling workshop with older people is explored in order to place the practitioner as the central protagonist in a narrative of participatory theatre processes. My research, using a process of reflective dialogues, has found that experienced practitioners are themselves open to a process of change through the work, which I have articulated as a mode of ‘responsivity’. The research method of reflective dialogues connects observation of working processes with a subsequent conversation with the practitioner about moments of practice, and the meanings that emerge are therefore infused with practitioners’ discourses on the work. Although this research places the facilitator at the centre of the analysis, I also acknowledge the importance of the experiences of participants as collaborators and their role as coauthors of the work. The analysis presented here draws on the motif of the practitioner as hero not as a fixed model but as a shifting co-produced protagonist shaped dialogically through the work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-185
JournalResearch in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2015


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