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Dramaturgy as a Method for Experiential Program Design

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Andrew Martin
Sarah Leberman
James T. Neill

Journal of Experiential Education, 25(1), 196-206, 2002

Abstract

This paper analyzes a holistic method of experiential program design, ‘dramaturgy’.  ‘Dramaturgy’, a theatre term, involves the development of themes and is characterized by the ‘the dramaturgy wave’ which intertwines a wide variety of social, physical, creative, and reflective ‘games’.  The ‘dramaturgy’ aims to enhance the challenge to participants in ways other than physical and is adapted during the program for the specific needs of the individuals and group.  The findings are based on the content analysis of 70 participant responses to open-ended questions up to two years after a two-week course for international participants.  The course was held in the Czech Republic in 1997 and 1998 and then trialled at Outward Bound Australia in 1999.  The results identified that the development of the course ‘dramaturgy’ is an effective method of program design that has implications for the next generation of experiential program development.

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