Social Theatre : Teaching and Learning Communication through Theatre

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Professor Dr. Andy Hickson, Dean of Faculty Communications and Liberal Arts conducting the Social Theatre Workshop with HELP Communications students.

Written & Edited by Jillian Sujata & Lim Vin Tsen

Social Theatre is drama with a twist. It is a series of communication techniques that teaches students to express themselves beyond words, helping students find and express their “voice” and find “empowerment”.
According to Professor Dr. Andy Hickson, Dean of the Faculty of Communications and Liberal Arts, “The purpose of the workshop is to help students think out of the box, challenge their perspectives on issues and help them engage with one another on a deeper level.”

Fun Facts About Social Theatre

1.Activating All Senses

‘Blind Car’ – as students are blindfolded, guides placed behind the students use one-touch finger commands to direct them around the room. No verbal commands allowed. Without the use of their eyes, they learn to rely on their other senses to guide them

2. Every Action Has An Influence

‘Columbian Hypnosis’ – our every physical action has the potential to influence another’s thoughts, perceptions and reactions. We are conditioned not just to respond to verbal communication but non-verbal communication such as body language, physical space and facial expressions that often carry more weight than our words.

3. Modelling

‘Touch’ – can also shape how a person acts or reacts. A simple touch or gesture can change the meaning of our messages or give/reduce the weight of these messages. Safe touch can help overcome barriers and aid in effective communication.

4. Gestures

‘Gestures’ – are a movement of a part of a body to express an idea or meaning. They are usually small movements and may carry more than one meaning. For example, a palm held up can mean stop or work as an acknowledgment of another person.

5. The Magic in Movement

‘Movements’ – Larger movements using more physical space often draw more attention and can provoke a stronger response. Dance is one example that allows for creative expression and has the potential of stirring strong emotions. The key goal of movement in Social Theatre is the empowerment of the individuals involved.

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