NOT LUKE: The Development of an Applied Theatre Performance for Youth Justice Settings

  • Simon Ruding

Student thesis: Phd


This portfolio thesis is a practitioner-researcher-led enquiry into the processes and practices underpinning the development of an applied theatre performance for youth justice settings. More precisely, it is a practical enquiry into how a group of applied theatre practitioners drew inspiration from restorative justice practices, intimate theatre practices, theories of narrative transportation, proxemics and the Levinasian philosophy of alterity to develop a performance for young offenders that attempted to elicit active spectator participation and disrupt victim/offender narratives. As a piece of practice-based research, the study identifies a performance format that can inform the work of applied theatre practitioners in their “in role” work with people who have offended. Chapter Two is written as a journal article entitled ‘Too Close for Comfort’ and explores the specialist work done by actor-facilitators in role as victims and offenders in criminal justice treatment and intervention programmes. Chapter Three provides a more detailed introduction to the thesis project, the methodological choices and a discussion of the key critical concepts of narrative transportation, proxemics and the Levinasian ethics of alterity. Chapter Four describes the group devising process; here I provide insight into how the critical concepts and practice models were woven together into the performance format which came to be known as Not Luke. Chapter Five describes two of the three performances of Not Luke, which were staged between August and December 2016; a film of the third performance forms a part of the submission. Chapter Six provides a summary of my conclusions and reflections on the development of the practice.
Date of Award31 Dec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJennifer Hughes (Supervisor) & Stephen Scott-Bottoms (Supervisor)


  • Restorative Justice
  • Devising
  • Practice led
  • Youth Justice
  • Performance
  • Applied Theatre

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