In 2014, researchers Agudelo Gómez et al. shone a light on the arts-based methodologies being practiced by three universities (Universidad Sergio Arboleda, Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia, Universidad del Magdalena) in Santa Marta, Colombia, in their faculty of Law programmes. Each university incorporated a module of performing arts, especially theatre, as a teaching strategy for law students to develop key professional skills, including debating, public speaking, communication skills (both through body language and oral delivery of information), understanding rhetoric, and conflict management.
The school of Law ‘Rodrigo de Bastidas’ at the Universidad Sergio Arboleda instigated a reading plan (El Plan Lector) consisting of classic literary texts for their undergraduate law students. These texts were first analysed and then performed publically at the university by the students. World literature texts (such as Antigone by Sophocles, Fuenteovejuna by Lope de Vega, Catilinaries by Cicero, The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, El coronel no tiene quien le escriba by Gabriel García Márquez, The Prince by Machiavelli, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, among others) were performed by students from the School of Law, guided by the renowned theatre director Carlos Milliani, in collaboration with the Student Wellness Department.
In 2015, the programme had been running for 7 years and has been considered a successful strategy for the formation of autonomous readers. An autonomous reader is one that is able to find enjoyment in the reading, identify ethical, aesthetic, and philosophical dimensions in a text, to understand its historical and legal context, to express varied interpretations orally and in written form, and to take a position in relation to the text. The directors of the programme assessed that theatre not only allows the law students to develop the professional critical reading and oratory skills necessary for their careers, but it transforms the students’ reading habits. No longer did they see the literary text as a cold, flat reading but as a fun, creative, liberating, transforming, and affective reading.
Other universities in Latin America and Europe have adopted similar strategies of integrating theatre into tertiary Law education either as a key component or an elective, such as Universidad San Martín de Porres in Peru, Universidad de los Andes in Colombia, Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina, Universidad de Alicante in Spain, Universidad de Chile in Chile, and the Universidad Autónoma de ciudad Juárez in Mexico, among others.
Agudelo Gómez, Carlos Julio; Delghans Pabón, Angélica María; Parra Vega, José Ariel; Montoya Martínez, María Camila (Col.); Mojica Rada, Daniela (Col.) El teatro como estrategia didáctica en la enseñanza-aprendizaje de las ciencias jurídicas. Bogotá: Universidad Sergio Arboleda, 2015. ISBN: 978-958-8866-55-0. http://up-rid2.up.ac.pa:8080/xmlui/handle/123456789/2292