Creative Convergence: Enhancing impact in regional theatre for young people

Researchers

Professor Rachel Fensham, School of Cultures and Communications, Chief Investigator
Associate Professor Paul Rae, School of Cultures and Communications, Chief Investigator
Dr Jennifer Beckett, School of Cultures and Communications, Chief Investigator
Dr Megan Upton, School of Cultures and Communications, Research Assistant

Project Details

A recent five-day fieldwork experience in East Gippsland working with Arena Theatre Company saw team members observing a digital story telling workshop called “DrOne”, and implementing a new research workshop model titled “My Online Life”, an interactive exploration of young people’s engagement with social media.

Asking questions such as, 'Do they see their online lives as performative?' and 'What kind of affective relationships do rural adolescents construct through social media participation?' we used survey tools to identify the extent of their use of social media, and conducted interviews with teachers about the impact of social media in the school context. During the workshop, we also worked with the students to create performance poetry that illustrated their social media identities in an everyday context.

This fieldwork exemplifies the range of methodologies we are using to understand the concept of “convergence” in this project. We are particularly interested in convergences between what live theatre can offer, and convergence in digital spaces such as social media. Could potential convergences between theatre and digital media enhance the impact of a theatre experience for young people? Can it circumvent distance? Can it prolong a conversation that enables young people to navigate transitions in their lives? Can it expand their experiences?

The Digital Studio has provided support for building our data storage plans and for mapping preliminary and documenting qualitative and quantitative data in ways that are suitable for wider dissemination.

Project Partners

Arena Theatre Company; Arthur - a theatre company; Bell Shakespeare; Creative Victoria; Geelong Performing Arts Centre; HotHouse Theatre; Melbourne Theatre Company; Theatre Network Australia.