Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Noreen C. Barnes


This dynamic form of pedagogy attempts to cross the interdisciplinary boundaries between theatre, psychology, and modern medicine. What I attempt to present in this thesis is a systematic developmental framework for the theoretical use of drama therapy with children suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder. This approach has been based on in-depth interdisciplinary study which makes use of the most current research looking at the neurological makeup of the autistic brain. This systematic approach examines the mirror neuron system which has been labeled as a major defect in children with ASD. Through the use of theatrical techniques such as acting, movement, voice and speech combined with modern theatre theory and clinical practice this creative approach allows for integration of imagination and self discovery. By engaging autistic children in drama therapy intervention I believe it is possible to stimulate the underdeveloped mirror neurons which cause the defects in social, emotional, and language skills. By pushing the perceived concept of theatre beyond aesthetics it is possible to expose its obligation to a healthier society.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2009