Statement of Department Philosophy
Theatre is a composite art that is forever evolving in new forms. It nourishes, sustains and extends the human spirit. It is a means of exploring society and relationships within it. Through it, there may emerge possibilities for individual and communal understanding. Theatre is about transformation. It is the application, through play, of energy and imagination to frame, reflect, expose, critique and speculate. These activities should engage and develop the sensibilities of all the students who participate in them. By studying theatre, and engaging with it practically, students will discover how elusive, fascinating and varied theatre can be.
At one extreme, theatre is national, institutionalized and commercial, while at the other it is provincial, subversive and experimental. The Diploma Programme theatre course is designed to encourage students to examine theatre in its diversity of forms around the world. This may be achieved through a critical study of the theory, history and culture of theatre, and will find expression through workshopping, devised work or scripted performance. Students will come to understand that the act of imagining, creating, presenting and critically reflecting on theatre in its past and present contexts embodies the individual and social need to investigate and find explanations for the world around us.
The theatre course emphasizes the importance of working individually and as a member of an ensemble. Students are encouraged to develop the organizational and technical skills needed to express themselves creatively in theatre. A further challenge for students following this course is for them to become aware of their own perspectives and biases and to learn to respect those of others. This requires a willingness to understand alternative views, to respect and appreciate cultural diversity, and to see the varied role that theatre plays in reflecting these. As a result, the theatre course can become a way for students to celebrate the international and intercultural dynamic that inspires and sustains some forms of contemporary theatre, while appreciating the specifically local origins that have always given rise to performance, and which, in many parts of the world, still do.
At the core of the theatre course lies a concern with clarity of understanding, critical thinking, reflective analysis, effective involvement and imaginative synthesis—all of which should be achieved through practical engagement in theatre.
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