Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Janet B. Rodgers


Psychology and theatre have a remarkable amount in common. In using the basic concepts and theories of psychology, actors can develop more concrete, logical approaches to characters. This thesis is a summation of the course I developed, "Psychology and the Theatre," which was an attempt to teach students introductory psychology and then experiment with translating those concepts to character analysis and stage performance. Students were taught eight units of psychology: Sensation, Perception, and Memory; Learning; Motivation and Emotion; Development; Freud and Psychodynamic Approaches to Personality; Adlerian Individual Psychology; Love and Social Cognition; and Psychological Disorders. Students were given reading quizzes and written tests on the material from the psychology texts. In addition, students wrote journals and papers to help work through potential uses of the material. They also performed contemporary scenes, attempting to put the material into practice. This course was an overall success; most students felt that this was a unique and helpful set of tools they could use to analyze and perform characters. Students found uses for each unit of the material, allowing more depth and logic to their character choices. With further development, this material has the potential to enhance the techniques of many actors.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008