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TYA, Culture, Society

International Essays on Theatre for Young Audiences- A Publication of ASSITEJ and ITYARN

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Manon van de Water

This unique edition is the result of the second International Theatre for Young Audiences Research Network (ITYARN) conference that was held in Malmoe, Sweden, in May 2011 as part of the XVIIth ASSITEJ World Congress and Festival. In fifteen essays that are illustrative of the wide variety as well as of the many opportunities for research in TYA, this book covers six continents, includes quantitative, qualitative, ethnographic/action, and historiographical methods, and highlights critical theory, philosophical discourse, play analysis, and other approaches. The essays deal with a broad range of issues, including representation, cultural contexts, questions of identity, race-, class-, and gender theory, notions of child and childhood, aesthetics, and the influence of media and dominant ideologies. ITYARN aims to further research in the field of theatre for young audiences to contextualize and theorize the lively artistic products for children and youth globally. It is the research network of ASSITEJ, the International Association of Theatre for Children and Youth, which co-produced this publication.

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Cultural Hegemony and Theatre for Young Audiences: Looking Beyond the "Normal"

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29 Cultural Hegemony and Theatre for Young Audiences: Looking Beyond the “Normal” Roger L. Bedard I recently stumbled across a book that has had a great impact on my perspectives about the field of Theatre for Young Audiences, and it is not about that subject at all. In this book, entitled, The Shock of Grey, author Ted C. Fishman offers obser- vations about the projected state of the world as the population gets older, older, and older. Most of us have been aware of, at least anecdotally, the aging of our society, as the baby boom generation moves into old age; but how many of us have truly grasped the significance of this global shift, which, according to Fishman, will have “profound economic, political, cultural, and familial effects that are only going to intensify” (2)? What Fishman describes is fundamental cultural and social change, the complexities of which “strain human comprehension” (354). In considering the theses explored in this book, I found myself pondering the impli- cations of such cultural hegemony on the field of Theatre for Young Audiences. I have long been interested in the ways in which Theatre for Young Audi- ences (TYA) has come to have an identity as a cultural entity. Put simply: how, why, and in what manner does TYA exist in any society or culture? In order to find and claim its “place” in contemporary society, TYA, as a cultural construc- tion, remains in constant negotiation with other cultural discourses and social entities external...

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