Programs - Educational Theatre

Applied Theatre

Applied Theatre refers to the practice of theatre and drama in non-traditional settings and/or with marginalized communities. It encompasses theatre practices which tackle areas of social and cultural policy such as public health, education, housing, social welfare, and juvenile and criminal justice. The NYU Steinhardt Program in Educational Theatre is recognized as a major contributor to research and praxis in applied theatre.  Faculty has devised and written numerous applied theatre projects which have been profiled at our NYU Forum series in theatre and public health, teaching artistry, citizenship, multiculturalism, and theatre for social change. Faculty serves on major peer reviewed editorial boards dedicated to applied theatre, including Applied Theatre Researcher, ArtsPraxis,  Journal of Applied Arts and Health, Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance.

Applied Theatre is multi-disciplinary and involves links with other research disciplines and agencies in the humanities, social sciences, and wellness and health. The focus is on the uses of theatre to educate and to grapple with complex social issues. The Program’s Applied Theatre experiences have included projects about immigration and refugees, racism and prejudice, domestic violence, queer voices, bullying, youth suicide and adolescent identity. Students of Applied Theatre have worked in a range of locations – from homes for the elderly, community and recreational sites, to prison facilities. Students who focus on Applied Theatre become active creators in the areas of political and guerilla theatre, theatre of the oppressed, theatre in prisons, and theatre for development, as well as with social service and community agencies.

The Program in Educational Theatre provides course offerings in Applied Theatre at all levels. Students engage in numerous outreach theatre projects under mindful supervision. The program offers students the chance to develop their own practical work and skills, and apply these to projects of their choice.  Students have studied applied theatre at our global centers in Africa, Brazil, Europe, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, and collaborated with major leaders in the applied theatre. Doctoral graduates have written impressive studies in applied theatre especially in gender studies, justice and rehabilitation, queer theory, adolescent’ rights of development, and theatre of the oppressed.

Graduates hold senior university posts worldwide; they are teaching artists; they develop artist in residency programs; they write and implement issue-based curriculum resources; they author ethnodramas; and they lead educational and community outreach programs in urban and rural landscapes, including major cultural institutions.  

Baccalaureate through doctoral students study how they can create, implement, evaluate and research Applied Theatre in community, educational and vocational contexts. The program is committed to developing future leaders and artist-practitioners who study the:

• purposes and contribution of Applied Theatre to cultural life
• major scholars and practitioners in the field of Applied Theatre
• design, application and scholarship of applied theatre in diverse contexts