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It is often done in non-theatrical spaces, with participants who do not consider themselves to be artists. There are several forms and practices considered to be under the umbrella of Applied Drama.
In all these fields approaches and methods of Applied Improvisation are used. Applied Drama is a term that has been contested, gaining popularity towards the end of the 20th century to describe drama practice in an educational, community or therapeutic context.
James Thompson states that “Applied theatre is a participatory theatre created by people who would not usually make theatre. It is, I would hope, a practice by, with and for the excluded and marginalised.
Applied drama can be either scripted or unscripted. Some practitioners focus primarily on improvisation, whereas others introduce a range of artistic practices, such as developing scripted plays, devised performances, or indigenous forms of cultural performance, sometimes combined with new forms of digital communication. Playback Theatre involves audience or group members telling stories from their lives and viewing them as enacted by actors improvising. It can also be used in conjunction with Narrative Therapy.
Drama in healthcare is drama created in medical contexts, often with the intention of rehabilitation. This form of Applied Drama focuses on using theatre to educate, engage, and stimulate healing in medical professionals, patients, and the general public. Often used to educate people on important health issues such as healthy eating, grief and loss, exercise, and sexual assault prevention. Examples include using actors to role-play health ailments in order to train healthcare professionals, performing plays focused on primary prevention, and facilitating drama workshops for patients.