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9th July, 2015

Push: Research Seminar

Event Details

9th July, 2015
The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, Eton Avenue, NW3 3HY

PUSH: A case study of a drama school public production that raises questions about diversity and inclusion.

PUSH was a devised adaptation of Sapphire’s novel which recently became known through the internationally acclaimed film Precious. This theatre production was co-created with Quiconque and Scarlet Theatre Companies in a collaboration with The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and performed at the New Diorama Theatre in March 2015 as part of their programmed season to a paying audience. The show was also performed to an invited post 16 school and college audience who had the opportunity to participate in a post-show Q and A. The show was made with a company of nine 3rd year BA (Hons) Acting CDT students and ten BA (Hons) Theatre Practice students.

The novel was selected for adaptation because as a black American text it was culturally distant to all the acting company. The BA (Hons) Acting: Collaborative and Devised Theatre course team continue to explore how to make courageous choices for material students are working on so that they approach the politics and ethics of performance in a thoughtful and sensitive way. Past productions include The Boy from Centreville (with Complicite), The Edge (with Transport Theatre Company) and SOLD (with Quiconque).

The research project investigated what is required to create an effective production and positive outcome for participant performers, designers and technicians. It aimed to identify which questions need to be asked before Central embarks on intercultural, racially transposed projects: projects that in a sense enshrine something controversial and politically very delicate. How does approaching material that is written by black writers or tells the story of black people be brought into a curriculum with a group of mixed students and how does that impact on the experience of both the BAME and the white students in the group? Can our discoveries of good working practice be brought into the professional theatre making contexts?

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