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INSPIRING EDUCATION | oise.utoronto.ca
Act I Scene I

Student Voices- Lois Adamson


My name is Lois Adamson and I began working with Kathleen in 2010 as part of my MA. I was lucky enough to have Kathleen as my thesis supervisor. I had just finished my bachelor of education and I felt like there was a lot more I needed to discover about the complexities of teaching and learning. Which is why I came to OISE. And I knew that I wanted to look at what happens to a school, and to the students and teachers when they study drama. I knew that the drama classroom is often a very special place in the school, but I was more interested in learning about what happens when more of the world is brought into that. And what’s the relationship between what happens outside the school and in it, particularly in the context of drama education.  So in working with Kathleen she introduced me to Young People’s Theatre, or YPT as many people call it. YPT is a professional theatre for young audiences in Toronto. Its Canada’s largest and actually Toronto’s oldest theatre. And Kathleen introduced me to Karen Gilodo, a member of the education and participation department there. And YPT ended up being my thesis research site. And I worked very closely with the theatre, with Karen, and with the teachers who bring their students there to learn a little bit more about the educative value of that experience, and the reasons why teachers bring their students to see live professional theatre as part of their curriculum.

And during this time Kathleen really pushed me to look critically at the social spaces of schools, of drama classrooms, of the theatre itself. She helped me to figure out how to ask the right questions of myself and of my research participants. And she also provided me with  the tools that I needed to do this kind of work. This was the first research of this kind that I had undertaken. I was a novice and very much aware of that fact. So Kathleen helped me to understand how the work that we do as teachers and as artists is also sometimes the work we do as researchers. And to give me that grounding. Which was really helpful with this project.

So probably the most surprising thing that came out of that work for me was a job. I’m in my third season now as the Educational Services Coordinator at Young People’s Theatre. And its thanks to this research that I have a place there now. Its very exciting to see some of that research being put into practice. And it’s a wonderful place to work; a great place for learning.

And with Kathleen, though not in the academic landscape, we do continue to collaborate in my professional position now at YPT. Kathleen, for several years, has been working with us at the theatre particularly with regard to the kind of programming we do with teachers in looking at dialogue around difficult subjects and the social constructs that exist in schools and how drama education can help us to understand those and see them in a different way. And to shift those perspectives and to foster change with teachers and our students in the context of the professional art. So I’m very grateful to have an ongoing relationship in that respect, as is everyone else at the theatre.

I also work with Kathleen to develop our programming for our Member Schools Program where research in a central component. We facilitate student-led action research and also do inquiry with teachers. So Kathleen helped me to develop that programming and continues to support us in that to ensure that its research that is rigorous and clear and also mutually beneficial for everyone involved. So to understand the place of inquiry in theater and in schools is something that Kathleen continues to do for me and for everyone at YPT.  

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