FTH6110EN - Advanced Ethnotheatre: Performance Ethnography

Course description

This course explores how live performance can be used to interpret and present arts-based scholarship. Students will watch ethnodramatic productions (live or on film). They will also engage in adapting the play outline and scenes created in Ethnodrama for the stage.

How this course benefits students

This course surveys Ethnotheatre as a type of play that has an educational, historical, or social awareness agenda. It teaches students to express issues through the arts not from the artist’s perspective, but from the perspective of the subject: the people. Ethnotheatre is a form of presenting research data to the public. Students plan the staging of the scenes they created in the prerequisite course, Ethnodrama. 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

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 courses, Script Analysis and Ethnodrama.

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 and Ethnodrama as prerequisites, which will focus on the idea of hermeneutics. This third course will round out the process by teaching students how to move the drama from page to stage. The course is Biblically based as it continues the hermeneutic approach to historical data and its presentation to the audience. In this sense, Ethnotheatre is akin to searching the texts to see if these things are true (Acts 17:11) and then taking one’s findings and sharing the results.

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 and consequently learn how to stage these as ethnotheatrical productions in such a way that the action, set, and spectacle is realistic and accurate.

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. Subsequently, the ethnotheatrical production will have a greater effect on reaching the peoples of those various cultures.

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. Ethnotheatre will prepare the student to transpose the script into a realistic or accurate portrayal on film or on the stage.

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.