The French Play: An Ethnodrama About Applied Theatre for Social Justice Education in Middle School

  • Allison Balabuch University of Victoria


In this study, I investigate the use of applied theatre with French Immersion Grade 8 students to better understand social justice issues. Through unstructured interviews, four participants were asked to recall their past experiences participating in applied theatre projects as a learning experience and as a process to better understand social justice issues. Participants’ words and feedback were then used to create an ethnodrama script, performed by the participants and me via video conference. Findings are grouped under five categories; Doll’s (2013) 4Rs: Richness, Rigor, Recursion, and Relations and Freire’s (2000) concept of conscientization. Participants in applied theatre reported they had a space to tell authentic stories in their own words, became more self-confident, and work towards being catalysts for change. The purpose of this article is to inform educators of the possibilities in using applied theatre and problem-posing education for social justice education and to share the process of ethnodrama as a methodology in arts-based research.

Keywords: applied theatre; ethnodrama; problem-posing education; social justice education