Teater och utvecklingsstörning : En studie av Ållateatern

Sammanfattning: This dissertation is an inductive, qualitative study of a theatre programme with persons with intellectual disabilities. The aims of the dissertation were: • to explore the experiences had by the actors as expressed through their descriptions, images and narratives, • to explore the context in which these descriptions, images and narratives take place and, • to conceptualise the experiences had by the actors. In the project, the following three qualitative methods were combined: qualitative interviews, participant observations and research circles. The theoretical framework is mainly built on three theoretical standpoints - social constructionism; the theoretical perspective that describes disability as a balance between deviance and normality; and cultural analysis. The analysis shows that the theatre and artistic programme are experienced as something new, interesting and qualitatively different from their earlier experiences. Their daily activities in the theatre are organized around and influenced by an artistic rationale. The work, the physical environment, and relations with the leaders of the theatre are different from the traditional social care setting (daily work places, group homes etc.) in which the actors are socialized. The analysis also shows a tension, in the theatre practice, between disability policy and artistic aims. On one hand, the programme has to consider the consequences of disability and disability ideology in their daily work. On the other hand, the focus of the theatre is on artistic aims and on the actors’ skills as producers of theatre and art. The social care setting, of which the theatre is a part, emphasises deviance (the problems and shortcomings of the actors) whereas the theatre emphasises normality (the artistic skills of the actors). Through their participation in the theatre company, the actors have gained a new role - the role of actors and producers of theatre and art, and not only the role of clients in the social service system. The actors also experience ambivalence from their social surroundings, such as in the theatre arena where the audience applauds their acting, whereas in other arenas they experience dissociating interaction. Both roles, being a client and being a theatre actor, are integrated in the self-understanding of the actors. In this way, the actors’ self-images can be described as a balance between deviance (intellectually disabled) and normality (theatre actor). Through their participation in the theatre, they also gained fellowship among other actors and between the actors and the leaders. This is analyzed in terms of affinity grouping. That is, the theatre can be understood as a community where the members share common interests and goals. Through the processes and acts in this community, the actors develop confidence and the strength to stand up for themselves. Against this background, parallels are discussed to disability culture and disability arts.