Theory on stage

Exploring the potential of theatre for the teaching of social and cultural theory to ‘theory anxious’ undergraduates.

Team Members: Isabelle Darmon, Hugo Gorringe, Alexandra Smith


Background: The proposed project is meant as a first step towards a full PTAS application exploring the potential of theatre for the teaching of social and cultural theory to ‘theory anxious’ undergraduates in social science and the humanities.  Though the potential of theatre personal and social transformation is well established, the possibilities of theatrical experience for higher education have been little explored. 

Aims: The specific aim of the proposed project is to investigate how 2nd year SPS students respond to and engage with the thought of two early social theorists, Max Weber and Georg Simmel, through the medium of filmed theatrical dialogues imagined and performed by academics freely drawing on texts by the 2 social theorists at a conference recently organised by our team. 

Methodology: More specifically we are proposing to edit 10 short films (one per dialogue); organise the viewing of a selection of these by our SPS 2nd year students; explore and discuss with them their intellectual, aesthetic and emotional response to these and the effects this has had on their posterior reading of the texts as well as their own ideas for writing and staging new theatrical dialogue. 

Our team, consisting of 5 theatre studies and sociology staff and PhD students is ideally suited for this project.  The outcomes of these two workshops will be presented together with the student participants within 2 seminar series and the magazines of our 2 schools.  They will be written up in a report, which will also form the basis of the subsequent PTAS proposal.

Final Project Report

Final project report and associated appendices may be downloaded from here: