Research, Resources and Publications

Research

Throughout our history, the Blahs have engaged in research to support the development of practice and to understand more clearly the needs of our audiences/participants and the impact our work has. We have undertaken research activity in partnership with academic institutions and the local bridge organisation, IVE (formerly CapeUK). Research activity has taken various forms, including case studies and has involved Blahs’ practitioners and teachers working as co-researchers as well as the input of external evaluators and academics.

 

We have now completed a piece of research that has been funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation connected to our school’s tour of The Vultures’ Song. Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Development (SMSC) is identified in the OFSTED evaluation schedule for assessing the overall effectiveness of a school. SMSC learning has the potential to enrich young people’s lives, by getting “to the heart of what it is to be human”. But all too often, we hear from schools that SMSC provision is marginalised, and that they would like to reflect more deeply on how to integrate this aspect of learning.

 

Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah recognised this as both a need and an opportunity and invited primary schools in the Leeds area to join us in a research project to explore and test a new model of participatory theatre and digital resources as a tool for strengthening SMSC provision. 

 

Working as part of a research cohort between November 2017 and March 2018, the schools have had the opportunity to: 

 

  • Identify key challenges and difficulties in their current SMSC provision;
  • Explore how arts-based activities – specifically participatory theatre – could help to overcome these challenges;
  • Take part in a programme of support and training with the Blahs;
  • Access a rehearsal of The Vultures’ Song, as well as a full live performance for Years 5-6;
  • Develop enhanced skills, resources and confidence to deliver SMSC to its full potential. 

 

This independent report provides findings and analysis resulting from the evaluation of The Vultures’ Song, a project supported by a Paul Hamlyn Explore and Test grant.

 

Download the full report here: Paul Hamlyn Foundation funded research into The Vultures’ Song and SMSC

 

Publications

Here is a brief collection of some of the publications released or including The Blahs. If you are interested in any of our publications please get in touch.

Applied Theatre: Economies. Edited by Molly Mullen. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018. Includes the Blahs as a case study.

 

Theatre in Education in Britain: Origins, Development and Influence. Roger Wooster. Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2016. Includes the Blahs as a case study.

 

Blah Blah Blah. Stories of a Theatre Company 1985 – 1995. Edited by Nicholas Whybrow. Alumnus 1996.

 

Articles and Chapters by the Blahs’ Artistic Directors 

Drama journal. Volume 25.2, Summer 2019. Includes the article: ‘The Vultures’ Song’ by Deborah Pakkar-Hull and Madeleine Irwin

 

Drama journal. Volume 20.2, Summer 2015. Includes the article: ‘Messerschmitt ‘v’ Spitfire – A Love Story’ by Anthony Haddon 

 

Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance. Volume 19, Number 3, August 2014. Includes the article ‘Mosaic: Re-Imagining the Monolingual Classroom Through Theatre in Education’ by Deborah Pakkar-Hull.

 

Second Language Learning Through Drama. Edited by Joe Winston. Routledge, 2012. Includes the chapter: ‘Theatre, Language Learning and Identity: Empowering Additional Language Learners Through Classroom Drama Projects’ by Deborah Hull.

 

Drama Journal. Volume 18.1, Spring 2012. Includes the article: ‘Drama and the EAL Learner’ by Deborah Hull.

 

Planting Trees of Drama with Global Vision in Local Knowledge. Edited by Jack Shu and Phoebe Chan. IDEA Publications 2007. Includes the chapter: ‘Participatory Theatre in Education: An Evaluation of Children’s Role Taking’ by Geoff Readman and Deborah Hull.

 

Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance. Volume 11, Number 2, June 2006. Includes the article: ‘A long story with a happy ending’ by Anthony Haddon.

 

Theatre for Children and Young People: 50 years of professional theatre in the UK. Edited by Stuart Bennett. Arora metro, 2005. Includes the chapter ‘Participatory Theatre in Action’ by Anthony Haddon.

 

An archive of the Blahs’ early work is held in the Special Collections at the University Library, University of Leeds. Further information about the archive is available at: https://explore.library.leeds.ac.uk/special-collections-explore/507354