Comedy Improvisation Engages Students

P1040156Students studying Sustainable Consumption in ENV were recently treated to the world premier of Theoretical Theatre: Why Academics Disagree, a groundbreaking performance which brings debates about sustainable consumption vividly to life.

A team of lecturers, researchers and PhD students joined forces to create the 50 minute semi-improvised piece, which involved performers playing the roles of competing theories, in a chatshow format with a Mastermind-style quiz, and a Question Time-style debate between the characters.

The objective was to convey the module’s key theoretical concepts in an entertaining and accessible manner, and so improve student engagement in learning through innovative teaching methods.

It asks big questions such as ‘Why do we consume the way we do?’ ‘What drives our behaviour and how might we persuade people to consume more sustainably?’ Senior Lecturer and Module Organiser Gill Seyfang explains: “these are questions social scientists and policymakers struggle with every day and there are no easy answers. By bringing the theories to life and having them argue with each other, we invite students to see the world from several different viewpoints.”

L to R Noel Longhurst, Tom Hargreaves, Gill Seyfang, Irene Lorenzoni, Jeppe GraugaardThe student response has been overwhelmingly positive, with one commenting “I tried reading beforehand but didn’t grasp the ideas very well … the demonstration made it more clear and got me into thinking about the coursework” and another said “It is quite something for a department to put on something for their students like this. I was really impressed. Thanks for going that extra mile!”

People involved: Gill Seyfang, Tom Hargreaves, Irene Lorenzoni, Noel Longhurst, Jeppe Graugaard