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Museum Theatre

Communicating with Visitors Through Drama

By Catherine Hughes

This unique new book will open people's eyes to the power of live theatre in museum settings—its capacity to touch the heart and mind, challenge understanding, and provoke new ways of thinking about exhibits. Catherine Hughes' aim is simple: to prove that there is no more vital a tool for making a subject, period, or people come to life than drama.

This solid introduction proposes a rationale and definition for museum theatre, explores its foundations, and provides a glimpse into its future. It is supported by lots of examples of existing programs—including Boston's Museum of Science—as...

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This unique new book will open people's eyes to the power of live theatre in museum settings—its capacity to touch the heart and mind, challenge understanding, and provoke new ways of thinking about exhibits. Catherine Hughes' aim is simple: to prove that there is no more vital a tool for making a subject, period, or people come to life than drama.

This solid introduction proposes a rationale and definition for museum theatre, explores its foundations, and provides a glimpse into its future. It is supported by lots of examples of existing programs—including Boston's Museum of Science—as well as numerous frameworks for structure and style. There are helpful discussions of physical plant requirements, what to expect when using actors, and even whether one has to use actors. Most important, Hughes looks at the pros and cons of many of the issues teachers and museum workers will face: Should they use a script or improvise? Should they use real characters or fictional ones? Should they involve the audience in an interactive way or conduct a straightforward, dramatic presentation?

Hughes writes, "No one is immune to learning in a museum." Armed with this book, students and practitioners of both drama and museum studies will create a museum experience that visitors are unlikely to forget.