Defense Date

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts

Department

Theatre

First Advisor

Dr. Noreen Barnes

Abstract

Higher education currently seeks to increase female enrollment in STEM. Women face many challenges attempting to breach this male dominated arena with misconceptions, gender stereotypes, and few female role models. With the recent trend in higher education to encourage more women to enter the STEM disciplines and K-12 schools cutting funding for arts programs, theatre may be losing its value in the education system. The value of interdisciplinary studies is beginning to be forgotten during the grade school years as school boards battle budget cuts, but we can remind society of it through science plays. Theatre artists use other disciplines such as psychology, history, and science to enhance their work, but I argue that theatre can also help promote the needs of other disciplines.

Science plays have become increasingly popular over the last two and a half decades and have done much for theatre. Science plays can assist in addressing the issues facing women attempting to enter STEM disciplines. The majority of science plays feature historical people and can therefore provide the much needed role models and address the other issues and misconceptions. To do this, science plays featuring women should target middle and high school girls as well as their teachers, parents, and guidance counselors who often discourage girls from pursing STEM interests.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

4-27-2016

Available for download on Monday, April 26, 2021

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