The Handbook of Dramatherapy

By Sue Jennings; Ann Cattanach et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 1

Historical background and overview of dramatherapy

Brenda Meldrum


INTRODUCTION

This introduction to what dramatherapy is, where it comes from, who does it, where and why they do it, is a somewhat breathless dash through the current state of dramatherapy practice. I hope that it will show the complexities of the profession, born of its different approaches, influences and models. I shall begin with a very brief history of its origins; I shall then proceed to give some definitions of dramatherapy and the status of the profession in the early 1990s; finally, I shall consider some of the models underlying practice.


A BRIEF HISTORY OF DRAMATHERAPY

The profession of dramatherapy is new and evolved in Britain in the 1960s from drama in education, theatre in education and remedial drama. This chapter is concerned mainly with the development of the profession in Britain.

During the early 1960s, when so much of the establishment, including the certainties of psychiatry, was under attack by the newly liberated young, arts therapy groups began to be formed in Britain and in Continental Europe. They were influenced by the optimism of the times, when it seemed that new ideas and radical approaches to learning and the arts would really change society.

Peter Slade, a gentle man with a mind of flexible steel, was encouraging children to express themselves through drama, but his message to adults-parents and teachers-was that they should listen to their children. We adults, he said, usually spoil our children's absorption in their tasks and deny their creativity by our attempts to control their actions. Listen to children? It was a radical message in the 1960s!

At the same time, Peter Brook, the great international theatre director, was experimenting with different theatrical forms such as Artaud's 'theatre of cruelty', culminating in theatrical productions like Peter Weiss's Marat-Sade, which had a much greater influence on theatre practice in Britain than the whinings of Jimmy Porter around the mythical kitchen sink.

In Poland, Jerzey Grotowski's experiments with his laboratory theatre were producing extraordinary actors who were trained to think of themselves and their

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The Handbook of Dramatherapy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Notes on the Authors viii
  • Prologue 1
  • Chapter 1 - Historical Background and Overview of Dramatherapy 12
  • Chapter 2 - The Developmental Model of Dramatherapy 28
  • References 40
  • Chapter 3 - The Theatre of Self-Expression 41
  • Chapter 4 - An Integrated Model of Dramatherapy and Its Application with Adults with Learning Disabilities 58
  • Chapter 5 - A Role Model of Dramatherapy and Its Application with Individuals and Groups 75
  • Chapter 6 - The Theatre of Healing 93
  • Chapter 7 - Dramatherapy and Psychodrama 114
  • References 132
  • Chapter 8 - Dramatic Play with Children 133
  • Chapter 9 - The Dramatherapy Venture Project 145
  • Chapter 10 - What is Dramatherapy? 166
  • Note 186
  • Chapter 11 - Evaluation and Assessment in Dramatherapy 187
  • References 207
  • Epilogue 209
  • Appendix 1 210
  • Appendix 2 212
  • Appendix 3 214
  • Appendix 4 216
  • Appendix 5 218
  • Name Index 223
  • Subject Index 225
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