LICA Research Seminar: Tim Prentki, Close of Play: Can Drama Save the Planet?

Date:18 May 2010
Time:4.00 pm

Tim Prentki (University of Winchester), Close of Play: Can Drama Save the Planet?

The argument of this paper is that human relations in many societies across the globe have seriously deteriorated as a result of the loss of our capacity to play. This loss itself stems from changes in the patterns of living which leave children without opportunities for unstructured, unsupervised play where they discover for themselves the core elements of

relationships: solidarity; empathy; humanity. Activities organised by adults or solitary, virtual interactions with computers cannot provide children with the spaces in which they learn to be autonomous, socialised humans. This process of fragmentation which has been gaining pace in the so-called developed world since the sixteenth century, has now reached crisis point, exacerbated by the penetration of the neoliberal economic model into every aspect of culture and society.

The paper proceeds to explore the potential of Theatre for Development

(TfD) to act as an antidote to these anti-social discourses. The argument is that such potential can only be realised if the model adopted is not the instrumentalist one where applied theatre processes are used to deliver the agendas of those who presume to know what ís best for communities or participants, but rather one which builds its practices upon the stories and lived experience of those with whom its facilitators work. Only a collective, playful encounter with reality can restore the self-confidence and create the community cohesion through which we may rediscover our common humanity.


Tim Prentki is Professor of Theatre for Development at the University of Winchester, UK where he ran the MA in Theatre and Media for Development for 12 years. He is a member of the editorial board of Research in Drama Education and co-author of Popular Theatre in Political Culture (Intellect, 2000). He is co-editor of The Reader in Applied Theatre, (Routledge, 2009). At present he is working on a monograph on the Fool in European theatre.

Who can attend:Anyone
  • Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA)
  • The LICA Building, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW, UK