Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Jesse Njus

Second Advisor

Aaron Anderson

Third Advisor

Josh Chenard


Theater programs that focus solely on the influence of the Stanislavski system are neglecting students’ opportunity to experience additional approaches to performance study that focus more readily on the sensations of the human body and the practices of improvisation to prepare actors to be able to stay present and respond truthfully within any moment. The pedagogical work of Jacques Copeau and Jacques Lecoq, which relies on improvisation, paired with more recent stylings of improv teachers such as Viola Spolin, Keith Johnstone, and Del Close reignite a modern sensation of play, found uninhibited in the world of nature, such as the expressive freedoms found in infants. These techniques bring out a truthful style of performance that is tailored to the individual, instead of tailoring the individual to the style. Not only are these performance methodologies useful to the performance artist, but they also hold proven in communities outside of the arts, helping people understand different perspectives, and improve their compacity for empathy and communication.


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VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Available for download on Monday, March 08, 2219