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Dr. Kathleen Gallagher conducts research in drama and urban schools/students with a focus on questions of pedagogy, the arts, and the social contexts and relations of schooling. Her research projects and writing have provided international insight into urban youth culture.

Exploring the Site:

Who is Dr. Gallagher?

Kathleen's Publications 

Kathleen's Research

Kathleen's Collaborators
Graduate Student Experiences Contact Kathleen or Her Team 

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Feature Videos


OISE's 50th Anniversary: Dr. Kathleen Gallagher

Professor Gallagher is interviewed on the subject of OISE's 50th anniversary.


Radical Hope International Collaborators' Panel Event: Reclaiming the Radical- Drama in Dangerous Times

Dr. Gallagher and her research team recently hosted our international collaborators of the Radical Hope project. These drama practitioners, researchers and education activists served as panelists at the "Reclaiming the Radical: Drama in Dangerous Times" event on November 19th at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at University of Toronto. Dr. Gallagher moderated the event; Christine Jackson, Arts Program Coordinator at the Toronto District School Board served as respondent. 

‪The panelists engaged with vital questions for theatre in the world today: What kind of metaphor is theatre for the world? How do we understand collaborative pedagogical models in theatre-making? What is "dangerous" for students and educators, and how do we act responsibly? How is the idea of hope linked to the existence of political alternatives? In light of on-going and over-lapping global crises, what can we do with art? 

‪Radical Hope Collaborators

‪Dr. Myrto Pigkou-Repousi, Open University of Cyprus

Nikos Govas, President of the Hellenic Theatre/Drama Education Network

Athens, Greece

‪Dr. Rachel King, University of Warwick Senior Teaching Fellow

Coventry, England

‪Dr. Urvashi Sahni, Prerna School Founder and Executive Director

Lucknow, India

‪Dr. Wan-Jung Wang, Tainan University Professor

Tainan, Taiwan

‪Andrew Kushnir, Project: Humanity Creative Director

Michael Limerick, Toronto District School Board Drama Teacher

Toronto, Canada

Read the transcript of Dr. Gallagher's introductory remarks.



A SNEAK PEAK into In Defense of Theatre: A Conversation with John Mighton


Gallagher's recently published edited volume (with Barry Freeman): In Defence of Theatre: Aesthetic Practices and Social Interventions calls on playwright, mathematician, author and JUMP Math founder, John Mighton to share his insights on why theatre matters.

John is the 2005 recipient of the prestigious Siminovitch Prize in Theatre and the author of plays including Scientific Americans, Possible Worlds, A Short History of Night, Body and Soul, The Little Years, and Half Life.

Excerpts from this conversation and conversations with other Canadian artists like Anne-Marie Macdonald and Jackie Maxwell make the book a must-read!



In Defence of Theatre: Aesthetic Practices and Social Interventions

Why Theatre Matters: Urban Youth, Engagement, and a Pedagogy of the Real 

Get it now at discounted price by sending in this
University of Toronto Press ORDER FORM

"What makes young people care about themselves, others, their communities, and their futures? In Why Theatre Matters, Kathleen Gallagher uses the drama classroom as a window into the daily challenges of marginalized youth in Toronto, Boston, Taipei, and Lucknow. An ethnographic study which mixes quantitative and qualitative methodology in an international multi-site project, Why Theatre Matters ties together the issues of urban and arts education through the lens of student engagement. Gallagher’s research presents a framework for understanding student involvement at school in the context of students’ families and communities, as well as changing social, political, and economic realities around the world."

On Technology

How the Canada Foundation for Innovation opens doors!

Dr. Gallagher speaks about her use of exciting new technology in her global, multi-sited ethnographic study and how it transforms and extends the possibilities of the work.


This interview took place at the Congress of Social Science and Humanities.


Audio Interviews
Ann Marie

audio - listen

  Our Drama Audio Series... 
  Spring 2013 interview with 
  Playwright, Novelist, Actor, and Journalist:
  "we are story-makers as human beings"
  "people can make theatre anywhere, anytime"


Drama Research News


twitter  facebook  youtube  instagram

Gallager Intro Video

Kathleen introduces
Drama Research

Our Research Project
Neighbourhood Change
focuses on an
inner suburban community
with 25% of families living
below the poverty line and 

school drop-out rates at 50%.


New and Of Interest!


Free Public Reading- TOWARDS YOUTH: A cycle of plays on radical hope


A cycle of plays on radical hope


Free public readings of the work-in-progress at the Streetcar Crowsnest

Friday December 8th & Saturday December 9th @ 7:30


Towards Youth is a series of original interconnected plays exploring the concept of radical hope among youth in our current times of global unrest. Documentary theatremaker Andrew Kushnir (playwright behind Project: Humanity’s The Middle PlaceSmall Axe and Freedom Singer) has traveled the world alongside U of T’s Dr. Kathleen Gallagher to observe how drama provides a window onto the realities of young people today. Bringing together the voices of youth and teachers in India, England, Taiwan, Greece and Canada, the project interrupts any notion that young people are simply the receivers of care. An epic series of plays anchored in a “pedagogy of the real”, Towards Youth asks: As democracies thin out everywhere, how are our young people faring, and how are they teaching us a better way forward?

Click here for more details and to reserve tickets.


New Book Announcement

Stay tuned for the March 2018 release of Dr. Gallagher's new edited collection, The Methodological Dilemma Revisited. A stunning collection of authors reflect upon the politics of knowledge construction in our times. Working with queer communities, youth communities of color and other precarious youth, vulnerable animals- with many who toil beyond the limits of recognizability- the authors carefully convey their relationships to groups they are inside, or outside, or allied with, or in other ways committed to serving. 


New Article by Dr. Gallagher and Research Assistant Kelsey Jacobson in RiDE (Research in Drama Education)

Check out Dr. Gallagher's new article, Beyond mimesis to an assemblage of reals in the drama classroom: Which reals? Which representational aesthetics? What theatre-building practices? Whose truths?


Drama in Education & Applied Theatre Symposium at Brock University

Dr. Gallagher is giving a keynote speech at the upcoming Drama in Education & Applied Theatre Symposium: The State of Our Art, at Brock University, which takes place January 26-27.

Conference Description: Our world as we know it is rapidly changing, with scholars identifying present events as ‘post-normal’ (O’Connor and Anderson 2015). In this climate of anxiety and political uncertainty, how is the practice of drama in education and applied theatre a means to respond to and attempt to speak back to these times? The lectures and workshops will offer key insights into how our scholars use this practice to grapple with these issues.


New Article by Dr. Gallagher and Research Assistant Dirk J. Rodricks in Youth Theatre Journal.

Check out Dr. Gallagher's new article, Hope despite hopelessness: Race, gender, and the pedagogies of drama/applied theatre as a relational ethic in neoliberal times.


New Article by Dr. Gallagher in Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies

Check out Dr. Gallagher's new article, The gendered labor of social innovation: Theatre, pedagogy, and the girl-child in India, which highlights the work of international research collaborator Urvashi Sahni at the Prerna school in Lucknow.


The Conversation piece on Indigenous Knowledge in the University Classroom

Check out Dr. Gallagher's new article in The Conversation media outlet on the "new duty felt by teachers at all levels of our education system to make good on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) calls to action" in her piece, How I Am Learning to Include Indigenous Knowledge in the Classroom. 


Register now! OTF Summer Institute: Artful Approaches- Embedding Indigenous Knowledge in the Drama and Dance Classroom

We come as individuals but we leave as one. In this joint institute from the Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators (CODE) and First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Education Association of Ontario (FNMIEAO), we will focus on the personal and professional dimensions of decolonizing our teaching practice in drama and dance. Learn to claim your voice and find strength in your life and work through teachings, Elder discussions, and traditional dances in our morning sessions. Each afternoon, experience and plan artful approaches to embedding Indigenous knowledge into your teaching practice.  

Dates: August 9-11, 2017

Location: Western University

Registration Opens: June 1



Crow's Theatre to offer RBC Rising Star Award for Emerging Director; Nominations OPEN!!!

Our artist collaborator, Andrew Kushnir, who also serves as Associate Artistic Director with Crow's Theatre sent us this exciting opportunity that can't be missed! Deadline for submissions is June 16th. More information can be found here


Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education Publication

Dr. Gallagher and her students, Rachel Rhoades, Sherry Bie and Nancy Cardwell published an article in March 2017 entitled Drama in Education and Applied Theatre, from Morality and Socialization to Play and Postcolonialism in the new Oxford Research Encycolpedia of Education. 


Podcast with Dr. Peter Duffy, University of South Carolina

Please find, at this link, Dr. Peter Duffy’s recent podcast in conversation with Dr. Kathleen Gallagher. In the far-reaching conversation about doing research in drama and applied theatre, they consider questions of collaboration and ethics, among other things. We hope you find the conversation stimulating.



Youth Shelter Partnership Research Publication

Dr. Gallagher, along with her graduate students, Rebecca Starkman and Rachel Rhoades, published a 2017 article in the Journal of Youth Studies Volume 20, Issue 2 entitled, Performing counter-narratives and mining creative resilience: using applied theatre to theorize notions of youth resilience. The article stems from Dr. Gallagher's work in the Neighbourhood Change Research Partnership with collaborators Project:Humanity and Youth Without Shelter


Panel Discussion Videos: "Social Justice Arts Education: Opportunities, Challenges and Contradictions"

Panelists: Andrea Fatona, Associate Professor, OCAD University, Toronto    Kathleen Gallagher, Distinguished Professor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education    Carmen Mörsch, Institute for Arts Education, Zurich University of the Arts    Patrick Schmidt, Chair, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Music Education, Western University

ModeratorRubén Gaztambide-Fernández, Associate Professor and Director of CMCE, OISE

The four videos can be found at: http://cmce.oise.utoronto.ca/index.html


Project: Humanity Production: Freedom Singer at Crow's Theatre

Documentary theatre piece, Freedom Singer, developed through Project: Humanity, is showing at Crow's Theatre February 1-11, 2017. The play is co-created by Khari Wendell McClelland and Radical Hope artistic collaborator Andrew Kushnir with Jodie Martinson. 


Tainan University Master Class in Taiwan

Taiwan Workshop

Master class hosted by Dr. Wan-Jung Wang, Radical Hope Taiwanese Collaborator


Educational Opportunities for Girls in India Article Highlighting Radical Hope Collaborator, Urvashi Sahni

Read the article here: The inspiring proects that are changing girls' education in India today


Social Justice Arts Education Event at OISE- October 4th, 7pm-9pm

OISE Social Justice Ed Event


Forthcoming Publication

The upcoming Oxford Encyclopedia of Education will include an entry entitled Drama Education and Applied Theatre by Dr. Gallagher and members of her research team. 


Youth and Theatre at Tarragon: Dialogue with Dr. Gallagher, Staged Reading and Performance

youth and theatre tarragon


Collaborator Andrew Kushnir joins Crow's Theatre as Associate Artistic Director!

Andrew Kushnir began his relationship with Crow’s back in the summer of 2014, when he assisted Chris with the production workshop of The Watershed. He has since gone on to complete a year-long Metcalf Foundation internship with Chris so as to expand and enrich his directorial practice. A documentary theatremaker since 2007 through his company Project: Humanity (PH), Andrew had major success with his verbatim plays The Middle Place (Theatre Passe Muraille/Canadian Stage/PH, Toronto Theatre Critics Award) and Small Axe (The Theatre Centre/PH, Globe and Mail Top 10 Shows of 2015). He writes with director Alan Dilworth of their verbatim theatre practices in the substantial foreword to The Middle Place (Playwrights Canada Press) as well as independently in his chapter for In Defense of Theatre (UofT Press). Andrew is playwright-in-residence at Tarragon Theatre, a Loran Scholar, and a grad of the BFA (Acting) program at the University of Alberta. As creative director of Project: Humanity and now Associate Artistic Director in Residence at Crow’s, he will forge on with a number of new documentary theatre projects and initiatives. One of his main areas of focus is The Teacher Trilogy, a set of plays about education and radical hope inspired by the international research of Dr. Kathleen Gallagher (UofT).

For more information, visit Crow's Theatre.



Applications Now Available: 15th Theatre Summer Camp- Seminar for Teachers, Artists, Facilitators & Youth in Greece!

We are thrilled to announce that applications are now available to participate in the 15th Theatre Summer Camp-Seminar at Agios Ioannis Beach in Mt. Pelion, Greece. The camp-seminar is organised by Hellenic Theatre/ Drama & Education Network, led by Nikos Govas, one of our Radical Hope research collaborators. From 24 to 30 of August 2016, artists, teachers, educators of all levels, actors, musicians, visual artists, theatre practitioners and scholars stay and work in the friendly and relaxing environment of a well organized campsite, by the sea.

Greece Theatre Summer Camp

Participants share their stories and communicate using as a medium/tool several theatrical techniques whilst investigating their application in education. The refugee issues and their impact on education of young children in particular will be approached through discussions and presentation by members of the “It Could Be Me-It Could Be You” Project run by the Hellenic Theatre/Drama & Education Network and UNHCR Greece (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).


Book Announcment

Very pleased to share this new publication, co-edited with my wonderful colleague Barry Freeman and featuring a stunning cast of Canadian theatre artists and scholars: 

In Defence of Theatre

"Why theatre now? Reflecting on the mix of challenges and opportunities that face theatre in communities that are necessarily becoming global in scope and technologically driven, In Defence of Theatre offers a range of passionate reflections on this important question."

Available for purchase now at University of Toronto Pressbook launch poster


Happy International Women's Day!

Check out this e-discussion among feminist scholars for insight into what International Women’s Day means to them. The four discussants, all professors at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, are Dr. Kathleen Gallagher, Dr. Abigail Bakan, Dr. Ann Lopez and Dr. Jamie Magnusson. 


RiDE Special Issue: Drama and Curriculums

Check out articles on drama and the curriculum around the world. In this issue of Research in Drama Education, Dr. Gallagher speaks about these topics in the context of Ontario.


Multi-sited international SSHRC-funded research project:

Radical Hope works with partners in Taiwan, India, Greece, England, and here in Toronto investigating how the drama classroom/workshop and the concepts of 'hope' and 'care' can cultivate relationships, dispositions, and values that orient young people towards, and support them in, engaged citizenship.
See our interviews with Radical Hope collaborators as they think through the work happening in their own sites and the major themes of the ethnographic study.
Myrto Interview

Fall Events

The Radical Hope research team attended collaborator Andrew Kushnir's new play, Wormwood, which is playing at Tarragon Theatre until December 20th. Thanks to Dr. Anne Wessels, former research assistant on Dr. Gallagher's team, and to all for hosting us. Congratulations, Andrew! Click here to see the Tarragon's online news release on our visit to the show. 

The International Collaborators Meeting for the Radical Hope research team took place at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at University of Toronto mid-November. On November 19th, the team presented the Reclaiming the Radical: Drama in Dangerous Times curated panel with local and international Radical Hope research collaborators from India, Greece, Taiwan, England, and Toronto:

Reclaiming the Radical Full Poster


Dr. Gallagher served as a panelist for the 45th Annual CODE Conference: "Drama, Dance, and the Discovery of WE" taking place October 23rd-25th in Mississauga. Read the accompanying document, A Chorus of Voices: Shaping a Future for Drama in Education, which includes contributions from students, teachers, administrators, scholars, artists and arts educators.

In early October, Dr. Gallagher gave a lecture and theatre workshop in Colombia for the lead researchers and partner teachers from the Educational Development and Pedagogical Research Institute (IDEP), affiliated with the Bogotá School Board and with support from the Faculty of Arts of the Distrital University. Read Dr. Gallagher's Letter to My Friends in Bogotá with photos of "social justice seeking theatre" with drama teachers and students at schools throughout the city.

Dr. Gallagher served as the keynote speaker at the International Applied Theatre Symposium: The Performance of Hope at Aukland University in New Zealand. The keynote is entitled, Social Innovation and Radical Hope: An applied theatre practice against the entrenchment of global inequalities

Abstract: Research on social innovation has gained momentum over the last decade, spurred by the growing interest in a range of academic and policy discourses from management and entrepreneurship to health, the arts, education, political, economic and social policy. But, the boundaries of social innovation processes have not yet been completely defined, leaving considerable space for contributions to both theory and practice. Where is 'hope' situated within existing understandings of social innovation and in a time of overlapping global crises? Can hope be intentionally cultivated through the practices of applied theatre? In what ways can Applied Theatre artists practice hope, when broader neoliberal experiences of individualism and technologies of divisiveness threaten its very sustainability?This keynote will consider the role Applied Theatre research might play in rupturing the tide of inequality and polarization between and within the global North and South.


Happy Anniversary to Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance

Congratulations to RiDE for the global mobilization of 20 years of drama and applied theatre research. The publisher has made the journal freely accessible for the next year. Their most recent special anniversary issue includes a chapter by current doctoral student Dirk Rodricks entitled, Drama education as 'restorative' for the third space and a chapter by Dr. Gallagher entitled, Beckoning hope and care

Ontario Education Research Exchange features Gallagher & Service (2010) Research Brief:
The Ontario Education Research Exchange (OERE) posted a research brief of the Gallagher and Service (2010) article that highlights the use of drama in evaluation research. The research study cited in the brief examined the use of theatre to stimulate discussions about social issues and changes to school culture. Check out the Research Brief!


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