Marissa Blagrove
YPT Scholar-in-Residence

Marissa Blagrove HeadshotThesis & Research:
I am currently enrolled in Theatre and Performance Studies Program at York University as 1st year Masters student. My thesis is Participatory Practice within Children’s Theatre and Performance with a key focus on using engagement as a source in children’s theatre. My research question examines the difference between children as an audience and children as active participants engaged in the performance. Furthermore, within the practice of inclusiveness, how will children with various disabilities participate while remaining equally involved? Will the physical connection to the story draw their attention or become a distraction due to all the props and set pieces that are within the children’s reach? From my past experiences of working with children in theatre and drama activities, having children sit down and watch a performance does not always capture their attention. Participatory Practice, which is the root of immersive theatre, breaks down the wall that disconnects the audience from the actors and the message of the performance. It creates a new theatrical world for them to experience the message not from, but through the performance. In relation to education and social life lessons such as racism, bullying and acceptance, participatory practice will bring a more physical and emotional interaction for children as they are no longer seated, but active participants themselves involved in the process of the story. Although drama education includes engaging students in physical interactive activities, immersive theatre invites the participants into a story, rather than activities based on a story. The objective of my research is to find a solution to the gap between children learning and understanding the message of a theatrical performance. I plan to examine children’s theatres, puppet shows that involve interaction, drama classes at schools and theatre centres, in addition to 3-D movie theatres, which all relate to participatory practice in theatre.