Editorial: Drama participation and children’s rights

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The four articles in this volume examine various forms of theatre and applied drama/theatre, including drama improvisation, interactive children theatre, ethnodrama and process drama. Although the study areas and research topics in these articles vary, ranging from theatre and aesthetic experiences, children’s voices to language education, all the articles concern facilitating and enhancing children’s drama participation. It is vital to the development of children’s subjectivity and agency through drama/theatre exploration, expression and creation. The vitality of interactive children theatre and integration of process-based drama in the West is attributed to many factors, Article 31 of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) is of particular importance in this respect. Article 31 confirms the rights of the child to engage in play, recreational, cultural and artistic activities. In democratic countries, the right to the arts does not refer simply to “I have joined in” or “I am watching” but a vision of the child as an independent being. The key to authentic and substantial participation is decision-making through civic engagement, a concept best represented by Sherry R. Arnstein’s (1969) “ladder of citizen participation”. Arnstein identifes eight types and levels of participation, from non-participation to restrictive, tokenistic consultation where the powerless citizens may indeed hear and be heard, and further to the highest level of citizen participation where citizens are entitled to decision-making in partnership with the powerholders. How would these various levels of participation be like in children theatre and applied drama? Copyright © 2017 The Journal of Drama and Theatre Education in Asia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
JournalThe Journal of Drama and Theatre Education in Asia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Tam, P.-C. (2017). Editorial: Drama participation and children’s rights. The Journal of Drama and Theatre Education in Asia, 7(1), 1-4.


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