Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Second class theatre: theatre for young people in Victoria 1966-2000
    Butler, John Patrick ( 2003)
    The thesis examines the formation of theatre companies servicing schools and the community in Victoria. It traces the evolution of amateur children's theatre to the formation of full-time professional theatre companies. Many of these were called Theatre In Education (TIE) or Theatre For Young People (TYP) companies. The lack of historical research in this field contrasts with the number of journals and research articles on the growth and development of Drama In Education. There exists no comprehensive history of these theatre companies and their contribution to the development of Australian Theatre for Young People. The research in this thesis involves the use of primary research using audio recordings of oral histories, archival materials, company reports and supporting secondary research materials. The thesis sees the parallel growth of theatre and drama in education as integral to the operations and survival of these companies. Drama and Theatre Studies arc now part of the Victorian Certificate of Education for students in Years 11 and 12. Subsidy provided by State and Federal arts bodies has fostered and maintained a small number of companies in Victoria over a thirty two year period. Self sufficient, unfunded companies co-exist with subsidised companies by focusing on the Curriculum Standards Framework. Subsidised and non subsidised companies vary in the range and quality of theatre presented in schools and other venues. The research findings support the thesis that Theatre for Young People in Victoria has been undervalued in terms of its contribution to Victoria's theatre history. It has been treated as second class or less important than adult theatre. Funding bodies and theatre companies have placed an over emphasis on cultivating young people as the audiences of the future. Victorian Education policies have failed to regulate standards for artists and adequately support them in schools. This has resulted in a high turnover of artists and companies servicing schools.