Dramaturgical Techniques for Capturing Political Sensibility with Social Media: The Twitter Election Day Theatre and Poetry Project

By Kerric Harvey.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper reports on a unique project using the arts to explore political experience via social media. Built around the controversial American Congressional election in 2010, during which a splinter group of the Republican Party established a beach-head within mainstream conservative politics, the author sought to capture both intellectual and emotional material by using Twitter to issue a public call for submissions, soliciting “thoughts and feelings, hopes, fears, reflections and surprises” about this watershed event. These response tweets, called “Twitter poems,” were then crowd-sourced back to the Twitter community to decide which would become the basis for a an original radio play, aired in December 2011 on Sirius (Channel 205), XM Radio (Channel 121) and Federal News radio (1500 A.M.). This project builds on the author’s previous work exploring New Media Storytelling formats and adapting Drama for Conflict Transformation (DCT) to virtual and online environments. The entire radio production, plus interviews with the cast, crew, and author, can be heard at www.globalmedia.gwu.edu.

Keywords: Political Theatre, Art and Politics, Drama for Conflict Transformation, Social Media and Politics, Twitter and Politics, Poetry on Twitter, Interactive Documentary, Social Media and Political Engagement, Theatre in Virtual Spaces, New Media Forms, New Media Story-Telling, New Non-Fiction Genres

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp.269-286. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 839.370KB).

Dr. Kerric Harvey

Associate Professor, School of Media and Public Affairs, The George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA

A tenured associate professor and the Associate Director of the Center for Innovative Media in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, Dr. Kerric Harvey is also a working playwright and screenwriter who explores intercultural conflict in a variety of historical periods and places, including real-world, online and social media landscapes. The Founding Director of the Aldebaran Drama Group, she also writes about the media arts and cultural archetype in the public imagination, the anthropological effects of new media technologies, and media globalisation and political identity. She is a leading researcher on writing and producing for mobile phone cinema (Very Small Screen Media).

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