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Drama Dissertation Topics

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Example drama dissertation topic 1:

A study of the career destinations of graduates in the Degree of Drama from De Montfort University' 2008- 2012.

Given the plethora of transferrable skills learned upon the BA Hons course in Drama' and the rate of demand for graduates of the discipline nationwide' this dissertation provides a quantitative study of the career choices and destinations of recent graduates. In so doing' it hopes to show that the opportunities afforded to graduates of the discipline are multi-faceted and thereby to offer reassurance to future would be students of drama of the relevance of the degree programme in this time of austerity and job cuts.A department-centred dissertation' this is a study that has the additional benefit of introducing the researcher to a wide range of graduates in their discipline' thereby enabling many networking opportunities.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Brown' R. (2007). Enhancing student employability? Current practice and student experiences in HE performing arts.Arts and Humanities in Higher Education' 6(1)' pp. 28-49.
  • Carey' C. andMatlay' H. (2007). Entrepreneurs as educators: The case of the creative industries in the UK. Industry and Higher Education' 21(6)' pp. 435-443.
  • Comunian' R.' Faggian' A. and Li' Q. C. (2010). Unrewarded careers in the creative class: The strange case of bohemian graduates. Papers in Regional Science' 89(2)' pp. 389-410.

Example drama dissertation topic 2:

Foucault' space and primary school drama workshops.

This dissertation firstly contextualises the place of drama within the primary classroom with reference to both the KSI and KS2 curriculums and the opportunities for cross-curricular learning. Thereafter' it discusses the practical difficulties of drama within primary schools as a consequence of a lack of space' resources' and specific teacher training and development in the discipline. Finally' building upon the seminal work of Pike' it applies the theories of Foucault to meanings of space and the development of relationships - along with issues of power inherent therein' to primary children's experiences of drama - suggesting that the nature of drama experience embarked upon and the individual spatiality that it involves' plays an important part in the social relationships that occur within drama lessons and activities.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Edmiston' B. (2008)Mountains' ships' and time-machines: Making space for creativity and learning with dramatic inquiry in a primary school. Columbus' OH: Ohio State University.
  • Franks' A. (1997). Drama' desire and schooling: Drives to learning in creative and expressive school subjects. Changing English' 4(1)' pp. 131-147.
  • Pike' J. (2008). Foucault' space and primary school dining rooms.Children's Geographies' 6(4)' pp. 413-422.

Example drama dissertation topic 3:

Amateur dramatic and musical groups: Danish perceptions of a quintessentially English tradition.

Focusing upon the concept of the community amateur dramatic group' this dissertation focuses upon the activities of the St Joseph's Players of Wigan' the oldest amateur dramatic group in the UK' established in 1850. The paper first seeks to explain the on-going appeal of amateur dramatics within British society.St Joseph's has been selected not only because it has endured for over 150 years' but also because the Liverpool-Manchester conurbation is home to a plethora of such groups. Thereafter' the dissertation seeks to garner an understanding of Danish perceptions of this quintessentially English tradition through interviewing students at the University of Odense. This will be achieved by showing them archival footage of actual productions produced in Wigan between 2006 and 2012 (for example' Allo' Allo!' The Cemetery Club' The Darling Buds of May' and The Wyrd Sisters) and quantitatively recording their reactions to them. This is a cross-cultural piece of primary research that clearly makes an original contribution to existing knowledge.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Lowerson' J. (2005). Amateur operatics: A social and cultural history. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Schoell' E. R. (1963). The amateur theatre in Great Britain.Educational Theatre Journal' pp. 151-157.
  • Woodruff' G. (2004). Theatre at Telford Community Arts' 1974-90. Research in drama Education' 9(1)' pp. 29-46.

Example drama dissertation topic 4:

Drama in the workplace: Teambuilding through role play.

Within direct sales teams within the early 1990s there developed a trend of team-meetings involving role play as a mechanism by which to encourage efficiency and productivity in the workplace. This dissertation revisits this phenomenon twenty years later. In so doing it questions whether' in the more casual office of today' lessons could be learnt in team-building' colleague respect and relaxation techniques' through the medium of drama.In so doing' the researcher will undertake six experimental role play programmes (focussing on team-building' colleague respect and relaxation)at two different UK companies' to gauge the effects of such exercises. Each programme will last no more than thirty minutes' and all participants will be volunteers.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • George' J. S.' Schwager' S. andCanavan' F. (2007).A guide to drama-based training.Employment Relations Today' 25(4)' pp. 73-81.
  • Gremler' D. D.' Hoffman' K. D.' Keaveney' S. M. and Wright' L. K. (2000). Experiential learning exercises in services marketing courses. Journal of Marketing Education' 22(1)' pp. 35-44.
  • Lewis' M. M. (2005). The drama of international business: Why cross-cultural training simulations work. Journal of European Industrial Training' 29(7)' pp. 593-598.

Example drama dissertation topic 5:

Role play and drama in a prison setting - lessons from probation?

Within the probation service programmes offered in Cambridgeshire' role play plays a significant part in offender management - particularly with regards to crimes against the person and the acknowledgment of past misdeeds to future potential partners and employers. However' neither role play nor drama is used to such an extent in the rehabilitation sessions organised for prisoners within correctional institutions. Arguing that this is a missed opportunity' this dissertation seeks firstly to explain why there is a seeming lack of continuity in service provision and secondly' through work with the education department of HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire' seeks to evaluate inmates' perceptions of the role that drama and role play could bring to them as they pay their debt to society and prepare to lead non-offending lives.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Balfour' M. (2000).Drama' masculinity and violence.Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance' 5(1)' pp. 9-21.
  • Blacker' J.' Watson' A. and Beech' A. R. (2008). A combined drama-based and CBT approach to working with self-reported anger aggression. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health' 18(2)' pp. 129-137.
  • Moore' P. (1997). Acting out: Therapy for groups.Farnham: Ashgate.

Example drama dissertation topic 6:

Using drama as a means by which to encourage recycling amongst Britain's children.

Noting the present use of 'recycling magic programmes' and puppet-based drama to educate primary school children about the environment and the positives of recycling' this dissertation follows three drama groups who specialise in teaching children' in a hands-on manner' about how to recycle and care for the environment. Accompanying each of the three drama groups on two visits to different schools in the North East' West Midlands and Home Counties' the effect that their drama workshops have on children's understanding is measured in the immediate term (through questionnaires) and in the medium term by re-interviewing the children one month later.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • McNaughton' M. J. (2004). Educational drama in the teaching of education for sustainability.Environmental Education Research' 10(2)' pp. 139-155.
  • McSharry' G. and Jones' S. (2000). Role-play in science teaching and learning. School Science Review' 82' pp. 73-82.
  • Turner' H.' Mayall' B.' Dickinson' R.' Clark' A.' Hood' S.' Wiggins' M. and Samuels' J. (2004).Children engaging with drama: An evaluation of the national theatre's drama work in primary schools 2002-2004. Social Science Research Unit' Institute of Education' University of London.

Example drama dissertation topic 7:

An analysis of the work of Dorothy Heathcote relating to drama as a learning medium.

Born in 1926 Dorothy Heathcote was an advocate of drama as a learning medium throughout her professional life. She died aged 85 in 2011. Noting the importance of Dorothy's three Rs (rigour' realisation and responsibility)' this dissertation evaluates the on-going contribution that her theories of drama in learning have in primary school classes today. Interviewing PGCE practitioners' existing teachers and dram workshop co-ordinators' this is a dissertation that not only reviews the theories espoused by Dorothy Heathcote but also contextualises them with reference to existent dominant pedagogical trends: a dissertation that cross academic disciplines' this would ideally suit a drama student who wishes to pursue a career in teaching.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • O'Toole' J. and O'Mara' J. (2007). Proteus' the giant at the door: Drama and theater in the curriculum. International Handbook of Research in Arts Education' 16' pp. 203-218.
  • Taylor' P. (2006). Power and privilege: Re-envisioning the qualitative research lens. In' Ackroyd' J. (ed.) Research methodologies for drama education. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham' pp. 1-14.
  • Wagner' B.J. (1999) Dorothy Heathcote: Drama as a learning medium. Portland' ME: Calendar Islands Publishers.

Example drama dissertation topic 8:

Drama and the barrister: Is it appropriate to equip the Bar with the skills of the showman?

In recent years' a number of the Inns of Court have' in an attempt to improve the speaking delivery of their recruits' run professional drama sessions as part of their education programmes for those wishing to be called to the bar. Encouraged' within such sessions' to 'make a statement' through dramatic interventions and the announcing of one's presence' rather than behaving in a demure and quiet fashion'this dissertation questions whether such drama approaches are appropriate for the professional lives of the next generation of barristers. Interviewing existing barristers' Masters of the Inns' pupils' and law students' this is a dissertation that critiques a specific aspect of drama career professional development within the UK and considers' in so doing' whether drama has overstepped its boundaries.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Jacobs' J. (2007). Teaching and live performance: Applied theatre in universities and schools. Geelong' Vic: Deakin University.
  • Leiboff' M. and Nield' S. (2010).Law's theatrical presence.Law Text Culture' 14(1)' pp. 1-2.
  • Scully-Hill' A.' Lam' P. and Yu' H. (2010). Beyond role playing: Using drama in legal education. Journal of Legal Education' 60' pp. 147-152.

Example drama dissertation topic 9:

An analysis of South African theatre before and after apartheid' 1963-2003.

Using newspaper reviews' posters'interviews' and diaries of the period' this dissertation charts the changing nature of theatre in South Africa over a critical period in the nation's history. A fascinating dissertation that combines an understanding of drama' politics and the every-day lives of those affected by institutional racism' this is a cross-disciplinary study that supplements existing secondary data. The paper does not focus purely on theatre that sought to teach about the rule of apartheid' but also on theatre that entertained thousands of South Africans' black or white' in English' Afrikaans' Zulu' Xhosa' or any of South Africa's seven other state languages. Further consideration is given to the South African theatre groups that toured internationally during the study period.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Hauptfleisch' T. (1989).Citytalk' Theatretalk: Dialect' dialogue and multilingual theatre in South Africa. English in Africa' 16(1)' pp. 71-91.
  • Kruger' L. (1999). The drama of South Africa: plays' pageants and publics since 1910. London: Routledge.
  • Tomaselli' K. G. (1981). The semiotics of alternative theatre in South Africa.Critical Arts' 2(1)' pp. 14-33.

Example drama dissertation topic 10:

Drama as a stimulant to those with learning disabilities: A discussion.

Building on a substantial base of existing literature' this dissertation involves first-hand work with those suffering from severe learning disabilitiesin Warwickshire. Working alongside existing health and social care professionals in the delivery of drama workshops to groups of residents in council-run accommodation facilities' this is a dissertation that will require considerable understanding of the therapeutic qualities of drama as well as the responsibilities inherent upon researchers working in the field with vulnerable adults. A challenging dissertation subject area' ideally suited to post-graduate level research' this is a study that should aim to comment on existing best practice and proffer improvements for the future; thereby making its results readily publishable and relevant to developing policy agenda.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Beart' S.' Hawkins' D.' Kroese' B. S.' Smithson' P. andTolosa' I. (2001).Barriers to accessing leisure opportunities for people with learning disabilities.British Journal of Learning Disabilities' 29(4)' pp. 133-138.
  • Grove' N. and Park' K. (2001).Social cognition through drama and literature for people with learning disabilities: Macbeth in mind. London: Jessica Kingsley.
  • Minogue' V. (2005).The value of the creative arts for people with mental illness or learning disabilities.Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Research and Practice' 2(2)' pp. 110-122.

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