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RAISING ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS THROUGH PERFORMANCE ART



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RAISING ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS THROUGH PERFORMANCE ART by Alison Smith A Thesis Essay of Distinction submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Masters of Environmental Studies The Evergreen State College June 2007 ABSTRACT Theater for social change focuses on the dynamic relationship between theatre and society and sees itself as an agent for social criticism and or change Throughout the twentieth century many developments in theater for social change including educative theater theater of the oppressed theater for development theater in education and activist theater have brought attention to myriad social issues Most recently performances have begun addressing environmental issues as well This thesis investigates the significance of environmental topics as subject material for performance art and found that the environment can be seen as a social issue that has recently begun to benefit from and contribute to theater for social change Theater for social change can raise awareness about environmental problems we face and the potential solutions available Four performances from the West Coast of the United States are reviewed to examine their place within theater for social change All of the performances are found to be messagedriven and community based and to incorporate a variety of theatrical methods drawn from other areas of theater for social change In addition methods for measuring the impact of a performance on knowledge retention and attitude change are presented i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I greatly appreciate the time and insight provided by the four producer performers spotlighted in this thesis Manuel Cawaling Lissin Lev Chaya Peter Donaldson and Eli Sterling I also thank the entire Masters in Environmental Studies faculty at The Evergreen State College All of the faculty members were greatly supportive throughout the entire program and the thesis process Most of all I thank my thesis reader Ted Whitesell who was ever encouraging and



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