ERIC Number: EJ703403
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Reference Count: N/A
Creating an Educational Theatre Program for the Twenty-First Century
Woodson, Stephani Etheridge
Arts Education Policy Review, v105 n4 p25 Mar-Apr 2004
This article argues that justifications for art and culture recently have changed from one of basic freedom of expression and communication of an inner vision ("art for art's sake"), to one of utilitarianism and entrepreneurialism. On a very basic level, theatre in school settings works with young people inside the context of a community institution that socializes youth to fit into the prevailing social order (an order that celebrates utilitarianism and entrepreneurialism). Specifically, theatre has been received through the use of language promoting the theatre arts as a socializing force, either stressing its therapeutic benefits or its educational ones--that is, art as utility. For example, many texts on theatre in educational settings focus on the social benefit received by students as they participate in the theatre arts, including exercises in cooperative group work, positive self-esteem, fluency in oral communication, and the use of imagination. The author concludes with the suggestion that theatre programs should be focused on young people's lived experience and should have the following five related characteristics: (1) A program that treats young people as active agents rather than passive observers; (2) A significant program, not afraid to explore big questions, social issues and/or problems; (3) A program that creates advocates for the arts while exploring what it means to be an artist in the 21st century; (4) A program that celebrates and uses popular culture forms; and (5) A program that creates and promotes caring kinship bonds deeply connected into both the school and surrounding communities.
Descriptors: Popular Culture, Theater Arts, Art Education, Aesthetic Education, High School Students, College Students, Interpersonal Competence, Cultural Awareness, Social Development, Socialization
Heldref Publications, Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation, 1319 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036-1802. Web site: http://www.heldref.org.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A