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Enabling performance : dyslexia and acting practice

Leveroy, Deborah (2013) Enabling performance : dyslexia and acting practice. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86524) (KAR id:86524)

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This thesis is concerned with the lived experience of dyslexic actors. It explores the role of performance in constructing dyslexic identities, actors' relationships to written and verbal language, the ways in which this might impact on their acting process and implications for teaching practice. Research into dyslexia and acting practice is needed in light of the growing interest in cognition within the field of performance theory, the legislative framework surrounding dyslexia, implications for policy and practice and the numbers of professional actors with dyslexia. The methodology draws on a range of paradigms, namely phenomenology, embodied cognition and disability theory and adopts a mixed methods approach, in order to explore the complex nature of dyslexia and address a range of research questions. The research finds that the research participants have a different intentional relationship to language and linear sequencing. Certain training and acting experiences have given them a differentexperience of being in the world, creating positive dyslexic identities and body images. Disabling training approaches predicated on linear-sequencing and literacy, are the antithesis to methods which utilise non-linear, holistic and non-verbal processing. Actors manipulate the physical environment and the objects in it, to control what is otherwise a chaotic environment. A number of examples of inclusive practice and support models exist, but evidence of disabling practices remain. The research has potential policy and pedagogical implications both for actor training institutions and the industry. It also has implications for those dyslexic learners who are not professional actors, as acting may have cognitive benefits for such people and encourage positive dyslexic identities. There are broader implications relating to theatre and performance theory as a discipline, as models of neuro-diversity (such as dyslexia) can enhance current performance theory. This research may also encourage dyslexic actors not to merely survive but to thrive in the acting profession.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86524
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Social Sciences; dyslexia; acting
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1600 Drama
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 13:55 UTC
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2021 09:37 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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