This year we are delighted to welcome the University of Michigan’s CRLT Players as our keynote presentation. Through theatrical performance as well as critical and imaginative dialogue the CRLT Players invite us to consider the necessity and the challenge of creating inclusive learning environments, as well as develop plans for moving toward better practices. Theatre is a powerful medium for making visible the complex and subtle interactions inside and outside the classroom that shape students’ academic experiences.
Putting familiar scenes and challenges on stage produces several effects that are harder to achieve in a simple workshop setting:
- Theatre enables us to present multiple perspectives on complex issues. The inclusion of multiple perspectives allows us to honor diverse points of view and to consider the ways that these diverse viewpoints can collide and create tension.
- By putting familiar dynamics onstage, we make visible behaviors and patterns of interaction (often those that contribute to a negative work or learning environment) that can otherwise be easy to overlook. Because theatre heightens and directs attention, audiences readily notice behaviors and interpersonal dynamics that they may not perceive in their own classroom or departmental settings.
- The use of theatre allows audiences to engage emotionally with a situation while maintaining a critical perspective. Audience members can respond to the “case studies” represented by actors without feeling themselves directly implicated in the sometimes sensitive topics the sketches explore.
For the Innovations in Pedagogy Summit, the CRLT Players will perform “7 into 15,” a high-energy, interactive performance that addresses a range of topics. Consisting of short plays presented in rapid succession, this provocative and often humorous performance format uses a variety of innovative staging techniques to place the challenges of university teaching and learning center stage.