Description: The primary purpose of this study was to use some of the action methods of playback theatre to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge through the experience of building community. The impact of action methods on group dynamics and the relationship among methods, individual perceptions, and the acquisition of knowledge were analyzed. The researcher suggested that playback theatre action methods provided a climate in which groups can improve the quality of their interactions. The Hill Interaction Matrix (HIM) formed the basis for the study's analysis of interactions. Since the researcher concluded there were significantly more interactions coded in the "power quadrant" after training, the researcher assumed that playback theatre action methods are a catalyst for keeping the focus on persons in the group, encouraging risk-taking behaviors, and producing constructive feedback between members. Based on session summaries, individual interviews, and an analysis of the Group Environment Scale (GES), the training group became more cohesive, became more expressive, promoted independence, encouraged self-discovery, and adapted in innovative ways. The experience of an interconnected community created a space where positive growth could occur. The researcher concluded that the process of community building is intricately connected with a person's ability to make meaning out of experiences. Participants in the study noted several processes by which they acquired new knowledge: (a) knowledge through internal processes, (b) knowledge through modeling, (c) knowledge through experiences, (d) knowledge through acknowledgment and application. Acknowledging and applying knowledge were behaviors identified as risk-taking, communication and active listening, acceptance of diverse cultures and opinions, and building community relations. The study suggested further research in the effects of these methods compared to other learning methods, the effects of these methods on other types of groups, the effects of the leader's relationship to the group, and the long-term effects on group dynamics.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Kintigh, Monica R.