Applying Theatre Principles to SoTL Research

Deepening the Inquiry


  • Kit Simmons
  • Nicola Simmons Brock University



theatre, performance, creativity, SoTL, relational perspective


The same principles of engagement that actors use to engage deeply with the script and their roles can also be used to more engage deeply SoTL scholars in their lines of inquiry. In this paper, we draw parallels between actors’ approaches to theatre performance and deep engagement with SoTL inquiry. We build on a relational perspective to help others generate SoTL questions about interactions between instructor and students. We describe activities that draw on dramatic arts theory and through a process of “defining the issue, agitating the inquiry, and discerning the questions” (Simmons & Simmons, in press), we outline sample activities to help support others in honing SoTL questions and transforming the questions into successful SoTL project implementation.


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Author Biographies

Kit Simmons

Kit Simmons (she/her) is a creator, performer, and educator. A graduate of Humber College's Theatre Performance, she focuses on devised and physical theatre. She taught drama to children/youth and worked with graduate students on theatre integration in teaching and learning. She has presented this work at STLHE and ISSOTL.  

Nicola Simmons, Brock University

Nicola Simmons is a faculty member in Educational Studies at Brock University. She is founding Chair of SoTL Canada and a past Canadian VP, ISSOTL. Her work focuses on SoTL, online pedagogy, scholar identity and transition, and lifelong learning and meaning-making. Her teaching and research draw on arts-informed approaches.