Accepted paper:

Documentary film: Giving At-risk High School Students a Voice Through Ethnotheatre Therapy


Maud Gendron-Langevin (Université du Québec à Montréal)

Paper short abstract:

Documentary film presentation and discussion: A drama therapist and seven teenagers with behavioural difficulties created an ethnotheatre during seven months. Letting the masks fall, the students revealed their thoughts, feelings and experiences about their journey in the school system.

Paper long abstract:

The session will consist of the screening of a documentary film chronicling the development of an ethnotheatre piece with a group of high school students. Following the documentary, the presenter will explain her process and answer questions. The audience will then be invited to discuss the combined use of ethnography, theatre and therapy with adolescents in schools. This project was conducted as part of the presenter's final master's research project in drama therapy at Concordia University in Montreal, with the funding of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The MA student worked in a high school with seven students with various social and behavioural difficulties. These difficulties lead them to be part of special education classes, drop out of or change schools, and, invariably, fall behind on the required curriculum during their turbulent time in the education system. Over the course of seven months, the researcher and her participants created, wrote, and produced an ethnotheatre piece that was presented to fellow students, teachers, school workers, family members and friends. Post-performance discussions were conducted in order to create a dialogue between the public and the participants. The documentary film was made alongside this process in order to archive the progression of the research, disseminate the results and share the experience in different conferences and educational contexts. Please come and see how ethnography, theatre and drama therapy can be used with teens to help them voice their experience of educational challenges in a positive, constructive and therapeutic way!

panel G17
Anthropology in-the-making: exploring dynamic ways of story-telling and non-conventional methods of presentation