(Re)building grandmother's house: the work of queer youth theatre facilitators, their goals, methods, and practice

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Blake, Samuel Nelson Williamson

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This qualitative study explores the work queer youth theatre facilitators through an assessment of the goals they hold for their work, the methods they employ, and the practice that results. Beginning with the premise that queer youth theatre (QYT) is an applied theatre practice which seeks to empower queer youth by engaging them in performance, this study investigates the role of adult facilitators in this work. Through conducting and analyzing a qualitative survey of thirteen QYT facilitators and interviews of a further four facilitators, I identify four foundational goals and five common methods QYT facilitators employ in their work. I then consider these goals and methods through an example of practice by engaging in a descriptive analysis of a QYT performance. Throughout this thesis, I employ theories from performance and queer studies, applied theatre, and critical pedagogy as a frame for my assessment of QYT facilitators’ work. This helps situate the work of QYT within and between these disciplines demonstrating how QYT is informed, and thus informs, understandings of all three. Using José Muñoz’s theorization of queer performatives as potential sites of utopian imminence, I argue that QYT provides queer youth with the space and tools of performance through which they imagine futures for themselves and by enacting those futures create them in the present.


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