The director’s ‘I’: theatre, self, and self-study
Van der Walt, Tanya
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This article interrogates the connections between the self-study research methodology and the making of a piece of theatre, and explores ways in which self-study can offer a new arts-based research paradigm for theatre-makers. There are a number of useful parallels to be explored between the self-study project and structures of drama and performance-making. While the methodology is, to a large extent, aimed at teacher educators, we argue that it is sufficiently flexible to be transferable to the context of theatre-making because of the emphasis on practice in both self-study research and theatre. Using the a/r/tographic frame, we explore ways in which the experiential dynamic of both fields offers a unique intersection point from which to generate new thinking. The dialogic necessity of self-study is paralleled by the interactive processes of performance-making – what Marowitz (1978: 49) calls the “actor-director two-step”. Hence, the article uses dialogue as a way of demonstrating our thinking-in-action, and reflects the co-created space of learning and knowledge generation. Using self-study to interrogate our own creative work opens up space for new understandings in relation to both the discourse of Drama study and the broader self-study project.