Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Doctor of Philosophy




Martino, Wayne

2nd Supervisor

Solga, Kim



Using an adapted Theatre of the Oppressed workshop titled Acting Out Gender, this study explored the use of embodied, performance-based pedagogies to examine gender identity and performance with undergraduate and teacher education students. Attending to feminist and queer epistemological questions of embodiment and gender, this qualitative, arts-based study used observation and interviews to explore participants’ understanding and experience of gender and to experiment with performance-based pedagogies for exploring embodiment and embodied rituals. This study highlighted the usefulness of Acting Out Gender in supporting students’ interrogation of embodied gender subjectivity in their own lives and illuminated how performance-based pedagogies function in the service of that interrogation. These functions, referred to as the 3 C’s, centred the body in learning, created opportunities to have conversation across difference and engaged in collective meaning making to move students from anti-oppressive recitals to anti-oppressive rituals.

Summary for Lay Audience

What happens when we get out of our seats and into our bodies to learn about ourselves and others? That is what I wanted to know when I developed and delivered the Acting Out Gender workshop to undergraduate and teacher education students. This workshop used theatre and performance tools to guide participants in an exploration of our embodied experiences of gender, and this study tried to understand how using these tools made that exploration more effective. I video taped the workshops to review later and interviewed self-referred participants to begin answering my questions. Not only did this workshop deliver meaningful learning moments about gender and gender performances, but it uncovered just how these tools delivered those learning moments – by making the body central to learning, engaging in conversations across difference, and through collective meaning making: the three C’s!