Structure and Spontaneity

The Process Drama of Cecily O'Neill

Edited by Cris Warner and Philip Taylor
Foreword by Gavin Bolton
December 2006
More details
  • Publisher
    Trentham Books
  • Published
    5th December 2006
  • ISBN 9781858563220
  • Language English
  • Pages 180 pp.
  • Size 6.75" x 10"

Cecily O’Neill has had a formative impact on the evolution of the creative and dynamic mode of teaching called process drama. Process drama characterizes work powered by transformatory outcomes that bring together the worlds of drama education and theatre practice.

Dorothy Heathcote and Gavin Bolton were perceived as the pioneers of a new and radical form of educational praxis but it was O’Neill who made that praxis accessible to educators worldwide. Her work on structuring classroom drama, her writings on pretext and process drama, her studies on the imagination, multicultural education, and dramatic form have been influential throughout North America, Europe and Australasia. This book is a compilation of the formative articles of O’Neill along with significant commentaries from leaders in the field. It is informed by her work but it is not simply about her.

The book explores central questions about designing, implementing and evaluating process drama: What is the critical knowledge in process drama? How can educators structure satisfying learning experiences that promote spontaneous encounters? And what are the theoretical principles in dramatic art that guide innovative teaching through process drama? The answers to these questions make this book immensely valuable to drama practitioners and teacher trainers worldwide.

"I have learnt so much from the work of Cecily O’Neill that I have really appreciated having the opportunity to read and reflect on this collection."

- Journal for Drama in Education

"At last! A book that examines the huge contribution Ceceily O’Neill has made to the world of Drama and Theatre Education.…I would recommend it to anyone who is concerned with drama as a medium for learning."

- Youth Drama Ireland

“This provocative volume…should be required reading for both Drama and English teachers because the subject, ultimately, concerns how we teach. Process drama is a way of teaching.…It earns its place amongst the small canon of indispensable drama books.”

- English Drama Media

Foreword—Gavin Bolton; Prologue—Cecily O’Neill; Introduction; Episode One: Finding Form; 1) Drama in Education; 2) Process Drama; 3) Working from Within: Teacher and the Group as Artists in the Process; 4) Drama and the Web of Form; Episode Two: Guidelines for Structuring Drama; 5) Imagined Worlds in Theatre and Drama; 6) Transforming Texts: Intelligences in Action; 7) Dialogue and Drama; Episode Three: Perspectives on Drama; 8) Artists and Models; 9) Theory and Research in Drama; 10) Alienation and Empowerment; Epilogue. The Cecily O’Neill Archive.

Cris Warner

Cris Warner is Assistant Professor in the School of Teaching and Learning, Ohio State University.

Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor is Director of the Educational Theatre Program at New York University. An acclaimed author, his previous book for Trentham (with Christine D.Warner) is Structure and Spontaneity: The Process Drama of Cecily O’Neill.