Programs - Educational Theatre

Drama Education

The NYU Steinhardt Program in Educational Theatre has offered a comprehensive suite of course offerings in drama in education since it was founded in 1966. Thousands of teaching artists, teachers, arts administrators, community leaders, and scholars in diverse contexts have been educated in the theory and application of drama in education. Students can gain the license to teach Theatre K-12 in the New York City school system, and can take combined studies in Theatre and English, and Theatre and Social Studies.

Drama in Education (DiE) is a term we broadly use to define a set of practices which privilege make-believe play as a significant learning medium in the human lifespan. DiE refers to artistic activity where participants can role-play situations, act out imaginary scenarios, or demonstrate fictitious images for the purposes of insight and growth.  

Our approach is shaped by a commitment to three processes: Action, Reflection, Transformation (ART).  Ed Theatre is ART, and so we immerse students in the required curriculum competencies, such as those found in the NYC Theatre Blueprint.  We privilege process-oriented approaches at the undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels and have become leaders in the movement known as process drama, which is non-scripted collaborative enactment under the watchful gaze of an experienced facilitator. DiE teaches concepts, raises awareness, assists with skill development, promotes collaborative learning, builds community, and generates aesthetic knowledge.

The Program in Educational Theatre is an innovator with its global connections. A study abroad program has been offered since 1973 where students from all degree levels can learn first hand from the field's leaders how to make, present and assess drama in education. Our students have a worldly understanding of the key movements, philosophies and pedagogical approaches, and they have collaborated with groundbreaking teachers like: Judith Ackroyd (Role Reconsidered), Julian Boal (Popular Theatre), Gavin Bolton (Towards a Theory of Drama in Education),  Dorothy Heathcote (The Dorothy Heathcote Story), Jonothan Neelands (Making Sense of Drama), Helen Nicholson (Theatre and Education), Cecily O'Neill (Drama Structures), Michael Rohd (Theatre for Community, Conflict and Dialogue), Johnny Saldana (The Drama of Color) and Philip Taylor (The Drama Classroom). Few other programs could boast of such an extended world-class faculty.

Graduates hold teaching and university posts worldwide; they develop artist in residency programs; they write and implement curriculum resources; and they lead educational and community outreach programs in urban and rural landscapes. Alumni hold notable positions as artists, educators, academics and administrators.

The program develops future educators and artist-practitioners proficient in the:

  • purpose and contribution of drama in education to cultural life
  • philosophies and praxis of DiE
  • construction and evaluation of DiE
  • application and research of DiE in diverse contexts