Performing History Offstage: The Benefits of Using Theatre to Present History at the Canadian War Museum

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Stokes, Christina




This thesis aims to evaluate the Canadian War Museum’s (CWM) most frequent use of theatrical interpretation Group Orientations (G.O.s). G.O.s are performed by CWM Program Interpreters (P.I.). Interviews with CWM staff are used to trace the history of theatre programming at the CWM since 2005. The observation of G.O. performances, the scripts and the interaction between P.I.s and visitors demonstrate the pedagogical advantages of the programme. This thesis also discusses the future of the programme by considering the implications of a virtual G.O. This work presents a unique contribution to
the field of public history as very few national museums use theatre as an introduction to their exhibition’s interpretive themes. The investigation of the CWM’s G.O.s, offers a case study on the benefits of theatre programming in national museums. This will provide a valuable example for other national museums thinking about incorporating theatre in their interpretive planning.


Canadian History
Education - History of




Carleton University

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Master of Arts: 

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Theses and Dissertations

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