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Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates


While most undergraduate theatre programs value the concept that their students should be acquainted with all areas of theatre, (acting, directing, design, playwrighting), they implement it by asking students to take classes in each area of specialization, which can reinforce the natural division between the fields. This thesis aims to create four courses that would be a part of a larger undergraduate curriculum that focus upon training the theatre student in a holistic manner through developing knowledge and skill in all fields of the theatre simultaneously and within a single class. Significantly, this process begins with a course in collaboration that consciously draws attention to the components and abilities necessary for fruitful ensemble work. Students participate in non-hierarchical methods for creating theatre and then apply these same concepts to the elements (actor, text, light, sound, etc.) that contribute to creating theatrical moments. This type of training encourages students to view themselves not just as an actor or director or designer or playwright, but as theatre artists who have a sense of ownership of the knowledge of how these various fields work together within him or herself, but also within the theatre as a whole. My experience has been that after such courses students have an even greater sense of respect for what it means to make theatre with a group of people, and as theatre is never done in isolation, this is a step toward more empowered theatre artists.


Part of Retrospective ETD Collection, restricted to VCU only.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008