3S Working Paper 2017-30: Theoretical Theatre: harnessing comedy to teach social science

Role playing is increasingly used in European Studies and political science more generally to foster students understanding of social science theories. Yet in most cases, role playing is only done by students. Not so in Theoretical Theatre, a teaching innovation which puts the onus on teachers to act. In our performances, teachers embody competing theories and enact dramatic scenarios in front, and in collaboration with, their student audience. This article explains how we developed Theoretical Theatre and how it relates not only to games and simulations but also Drama In Education. It reflects on our experience of performing across four modules since 2012 and our students’ feedback and discusses how it can be sustained over time and transferred to other settings and disciplines.


Performance, pedagogy, teaching innovation

Gravey, V., Hargreaves, T., Lorenzoni, I. and Seyfang, G. (2017) Theoretical Theatre: Harnessing The Power Of Comedy To Teach Social Science Theory 3S Working Paper 2017-30. Norwich: Science, Society and Sustainability Research Group