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Heli Aaltonen

Associate Professor

Drama and Theatre Studies at Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim

Participating and creating hope in open ensembles: drama education in changing world


Heli Aaltonen is Associate Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. In her Drama Educational Ph.D. thesis ‘Intercultural Bridges in Teenagers’ Theatrical Events: Performing Self and Constructing Cultural Identity through a Creative Drama Process’ she studied meaning making in intercultural drama work with young people in the context of EDERED-practice (European Drama Encounter). Aaltonen comes from Turku, Finland, and has background in animation theatre, child theatre, drama education, amateur theatre, and theatre festival work. She is a theatre researcher, performing storyteller and theatre/drama educator with a specialization in applied theatre practices, performance-based research methods, and encounters between ecology and performative art forms. Aaltonen has written book chapters to different anthologies of drama and theatre research, and articles in research journals as Research in Drama Education: the Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, Journal of Arts & Communities and Information: Nordic Journal of art and Research. She has edited two theme numbers of Nordic Drama Educational Journal: Drama. The themes were Performative Identities and Young People in 2009, and Green Drama in 2015. Her ongoing research project is called ‘Climate Change and Applied Theatre’ where she explores possibilities to interconnect drama education with sustainability education.


Andy Kempe

Emeritus Professor

University of Reading

Beauty and the Beast: providing access to the theatre for children with autism


Andy Kempe is Emeritus Professor of Drama Education at the University of Reading where he led the Post Graduate Certificate of Education Secondary Drama course. In 2004 Andy was the first recipient of the University’s Award for Teaching Excellence. He has extensive experience of working in drama with students of all ages and abilities and has been providing continuing professional development to Drama and English teachers in the UK and abroad for many years. Andy has worked as an adviser to the UK government on matters concerning drama in the curriculum, teacher training and the further professional development of drama teachers. He has been involved in the development of examination specifications in the subject in England and Wales and was Advisor for Drama for the Island States of Guernsey. Andy has written numerous articles and chapters covering a wide spectrum of issues in drama and teacher training and his books are standard texts for a great many schools and initial teacher training programmes. His publications include the ‘GCSE Drama Bitesize Revision Guide’ for the BBC, ‘Speaking, Listening and Drama’, ‘Progression in Secondary Drama’, ‘Learning to Teach Drama 11 – 182nd Edition’, ‘The GCSE Drama Coursebook’ and, most recently, 'Drama, Disability and Education'.

Andy Kempe workshop:
Sticks and stones: exploring attitudes to young people with disabilities