Dr. Kim, Byoung Joo
Byoung-Joo Kim, is a drama/theatre practitioner, researcher, and educator who has been working across the continents. Born and raised in Seoul, Korea, he decided to study drama/theatre in New York City. There he met great mentors and influences, such as Lowell Swortzell, Philip Taylor, Nellie McCaslin, Maxine Greene, Frances Rust, Nancy Smithner, and Chris Vine, those who eventually changed Byoung-Joo’s vision of drama and his career path. Byoung-Joo worked as drama teaching artist (a.k.a. actor-teacher) for the renowned Creative Arts Team (CAT) under the artistic/educational leadership of Chris Vine. For more than four years, he devised diverse drama curriculum, consulted teachers and administrators, and implemented issue-based drama workshops for children, students, parents, and teachers around NYC and beyond. The excellence of CAT drama work, combined with the talented devotion of the colleagues, strongly reinforced his passion for drama education and trained him to grow not simply as practitioner but also as artist and educator. Byoung-Joo earned M.A. in 1998 and eventually his Ph.D. in the program of Educational Theatre from New York University in 2005.
Upon returning to his native Korea, Byoung-Joo began his long-planned dream to introduce and spread out diverse and at times challenging drama and arts education in Korea. With a small group of young drama/theatre artists and educators, Byoung-Joo founded PRAXIS, a clear reminder of his view on drama education – a combined endeavor of action and reflection, practically, practice and research.
His first project, TIE “A Big Blue Whale’s Dream” (2005) touched on a sensitive issue of disability awareness and inclusion in Korea. The project received grants from government and regional arts agencies and visited primary schools for two years. Byoung-Joo and PRAXIS then continuously developed a series of participants-centered and socially challenging Forum Theatre works on diverse social and educational issues. “The Butterfly Effect” (2008) tackles on Korea’s serious social issue of ‘intense competition’ for young people. “Mom, we’ve got another baby” (2009) challenges the dilemma of low-birth rate and child care. “Stop! Let’s help Mrs. Baek” (2010), devised and performed by the senior citizens dealing with the issue of the elderly in Korea.
Byoung-Joo and PRAXIS also have worked on projects for specific groups of socially marginalized: participatory drama programs for teenagers; senior theatre programs for the elderly; and interactive drama programs for young children are among them. Since 2010, “Applied Theatre project with the Homeless” has been one of the hard-working and meaningful projects for PRAXIS. It has grown into a forming of a homeless theatre company ‘Yeon-Feel-Tong’. In 2012, PRAXIS devised and implemented TIE program on school violence “Eyes Wide Shut? Eyes Wide Open!” to nearly 30,000 middle school students. It was a part of an unprecedented, largest public project funded by Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education. In 2013, Byoung-Joo led PRAXIS to a new challenge by directing a large-scale theatre production “The Forgotten”. The production combined grave historic facts with delightful imagination of early Korean independence fighters during the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 1920’s.
As a researcher and educator, Byoung-Joo has maintained his delicate balance with his time as practitioner. He has published a number of research articles in academic journals including RIDE, presented keynotes and papers at international conferences in Taiwan, AATE in Vancouver, and IDEA in Hong Kong and Paris. He first introduced the ‘applied theatre’ to Korea by translating of <Applied Theatre> by Philip Taylor in 2009 and organized a 3-day “Applied Theatre National Workshop and Conference” in 2010. His primary research interests are drama/theatre education, TIE/Forum Theatre and Applied Theatre practices, professional development, and qualitative research on drama and arts education.
Currently, he is the assistant professor and program director of Graduate Program of Educational Drama/Drama Education at Seoul National University of Education (SNUE), still the only academic graduate program of the title in Korea. Byoung-Joo is the proud founder and has been Artistic & Education Director of PRAXIS for 10 years. Since 2011, he has been Vice President of Korea Association of Drama/Theatre Education (KADE). In 2013 IDEA World Congress in Paris, Byoung-Joo received an honour of being elected as Vice President of General Meeting Committee (GMC) for the year 2013 – 2016.
Kim, Byoung Joo, Ph.D.
Associate Professor & Program Director,
Program of Drama Education
Graduate School of Education
Center for International Cooperation and Education,
Seoul National University of Education
Artistic & Education Director
Institute of Drama/Theatre and Education