Dramaturgies of risky play: Two (risky) case studies

Erika Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this descriptive autoethnographic essay, I discuss my work on risky play as a dramaturgical framework in two recent performances for young audiences—one traditional, one site-specific—staged in the U.S. metropolitan area of Phoenix, Arizona. I directed the first, This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing, in February 2015, and one year later I collaborated with a youth artist to create and perform in The Light Rail Plays on the Valley Metro light rail commuter train system with Rising Youth Theatre. Through both productions, I sought to investigate potential ways in which risk might function dramaturgically in two different youth-focused performance environments. These diverse experiences taught me much about the ways in which I use risk (and its aversion) to negate and control the spaces in which I (claim to) seek to enable empowerment and action. Through this journey, I came to understand risky play as a powerful strategy to facilitate problem solving onstage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-47
Number of pages13
JournalYouth Theatre Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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