FTH6100EN - Theories & Methods of Ethnodrama: Scripted Ethnography

Course description

Students will be introduced to the practice of dramatizing ethnographic data. Three types of reality theatre are examined: monologue, dialogue, and ethnodramatic extension. Students will construct an outline for an ethnodrama based on ethnographic research data and begin the process of dramatizing scenes.

How this course benefits students

A survey of ethnodrama and research-based dramatic writing. The course teaches students to express issues through the arts not from the artist’s perspective, but from the perspective of the subject: the people. The course prepares students to outline a one-act or full-length play based on the ethnographic research they have collected. In the subsequent course, Ethnotheatre, students begin dramatizing certain scenes from their play. The course may be applicable as a requirement for the credentialing as a Registered Drama Therapist with the North American Drama Therapy Association.

Why this course is important

Students who study ethnodrama will gain the skills to conduct qualitative research for the purpose of writing and producing an accurate production. The course will aid the student practitioner in producing a good, solid work that holds up to secular scrutiny by incorporating the tools gained in this course and combining it with tools gained in the prerequisite course, Script Analysis. The course may be applicable toward credit for the Reigstered Drama Therapist credential with the North American Drama Therapy Association.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Film & Theatre Studies
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

The course will require Script Analysis as a prerequisite or corequisite, which will focus on the idea of hermeneutics. In Script Analysis, students learn about the playwright by reading the play. In this course, the students will consider how to learn more about their characters and their audiences by researching the play before writing it. In this sense, Ethnodrama is akin to searching the texts to see if these things are true (Acts 17:11). The course should cultivate a deeper appreciation for the Bible as a complete drama from start to finish, as well as its effect on its audience (the reader).

Missionally driven

The course will provide the student practitioner with the skills to see everything in terms of script analysis/hermeneutics. It will also prepare the student to create new works that can be performed with the intention of connecting to an audience that is an evangelistic target by taking a realistic approach through researching the target subject, issue, and audience.

Contextually informed

Context is an important part of this course, as students will be studying context: Students will learn how ethnodramas occur within the context of historical and social realism that is obtained through qualitative research.

Interculturally focused

Qualitative research such as ethnodrama allows for direct intercultural study, as students will have the opportunity to research the culture in which their subject matter takes place.

Practically minded

Christian drama and films are often panned by critics. Time spent in serious study of the play will also enable students to produce a quality production that will earn the respect of critics by giving students practical skills to produce good work. In this case, ethnodrama will prepare the student to produce a play that is based on actual research and therefore socially and historically accurate.

Experientially transformed

Theatre arts, by nature and definition, is an experiential medium. Students will be equipped to take the lessons learned from the course and apply them directly in their church or missional assignments.