Sacred theatre as locus for women to reflect on identity

Beryl Chalk

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] This phenomenological study investigates the use of a four-day Sacred Theatre workshop to stimulate fifteen Western Australian women to reflect on their personal meaning and identity. This particular form of experiential and participatory theatre was developed by Peggy Nash Rubin, and the structure of this particular workshop was based on themes from an Australian novel The Orchard (Modjeska, 1994). The four-day workshops were developed and facilitated by the researcher. The sense of self and identity on which this thesis is grounded is an ongoing existential process of relating to self and others within a given sociocultural historical context. A modernist theory of identity which presumes an unchanging essential substance cannot allow for self reference and reflection as a living engagement with experience. This study of identity accommodates change and difference and values each person’s perspective and worldview. Therefore the conceptual framework for this thesis is similar to an Australian Aboriginal worldview, where nothing is static, the world is a dynamic event that occurs through ongoing connections in place, space and time. This thesis contributes to the role and place of Arts in society as a context and event in which the ordinary is experienced as extraordinary and therefore relies on a poetic mode of style alongside traditional analysis of participant response to re-present responses to Sacred Theatre, its Nine Powers and a feminine identity. Finally, story has emerged as the connecting thread across and through the entire process of this study. Sacred Theatre is human activity in real time and makes visible or generates many aspects of human experience over a textured and contingent range of possibilities. The themes which emerged from the data analysis reflect who these women are and how they think about themselves. The unique subject1 of this study fully realised her story by finding her own point of reference....
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2007


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