The imagination at work within the dramatic play of pre-adolescent girls
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Preadolescent children are capable of developing complex, collaborative dramatic play 'texts', while also being able to reflect upon and describe their 'inner experiences' during this play. These reflections have the potential to provide useful insights into the operation of the imagination during play. This paper describes the findings relating to the imagination that emerged from a qualitative research project conducted to examine the dramatic play of one group of preadolescent girls. Using video recordings of their play sessions and player interviews as the primary data sources, this paper outlines findings around three key areas: what drove the players to play; what topics/contexts they played out; and most importantly, what they 'saw' as they played. It suggests that these girls played to generate experiences that felt 'real', that their play texts predominantly focused on dangerous and supernatural situations, and that the visualisations generated by their imaginations during play were influenced by a range of contextual and personal engagement factors.
The Applied Theatre Researcher/IDEA Journal