Lessons from Feminist Performance: Strategic Teaching and Learning Interventions in a South African Drama Department

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It is our argument that feminist theatre affords one progressive tools with which to address the ways in which the individual is constituted by a traditional education environment in South Africa.

This paper seeks to map the ways in which feminist performance theory interfaces with pragmatic approaches to academic readiness and skills development.

Feminist discourse, as modeled in theatre and performance practice, offers us a point of departure from which to re-consider approaches to teaching and learning practices within our own context of a drama department at a South African university. This background provides a framework within which to generate a set of strategic interventions aimed at identifying and addressing the barriers to student success and transformation in the BA Dramatic Arts degree at the University of the Witwatersrand.

The case study outlines a pilot programme involving a group of 20 drama students and tracks activities and responses to the weekly tutorial interventions in the first semester of their first year of study.


Keywords: Feminist Discourse, Teaching and Learning, Transformation, Feminist Performance Methodologies
Stream: Creative Arts and Learning
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Nicola Cloete

Lecturer, Drama Division
School of Arts, University of the Witwatersrand

Johannesburg, South Africa

Nicola is a lecturer in the Division of Dramatic Art at the University of the Witwatersrand. She was awarded a Canon Collins Scholarship in 2004 and received her MA in Gender, Culture and Politics from the University of London in 2005. Her dissertation focused on the relationship between racial identities and gender roles in recent South African fiction. Her research areas include depictions of National Identities; the Location of Coloured Identity; Gender and Nation; Gender and Education and the intersections between gender, race and sexuality.
Nicola is co-researcher on the Division of Dramatic Arts’ Teaching and Learning project which focuses on evaluating the necessary skills for increased academic success. Nicola currently teaches undergraduate courses in Drama and Film studies and postgraduate courses in gender and performance.

Catherine Duncan

Lecturer, Drama Division
School of Arts, University of the Witwatersrand

Johannesburg, South Africa

Catherine Duncan has her MA in Journalism and Media Studies from Wits University. Her areas of research interest span visual communication and the making of meaning in a range of text from film to news photography. She has worked in the field of arts and culture and corporate communication as well as conducting media research in the fields of gender and HIV and Aids. Catherine currently teaches undergraduate courses in Drama and Film that focus on spectatorship and popular culture. She is currently conducting a research project in the Division of Dramatic art that is investigating issues of teaching and learning in the division

Ref: L09P1643