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Educational Theatre Areas of Specialization

We offer three areas of specialization in Educational Theatre:

Drama in Education

Drama in Education (DiE) is a specialization that privileges make-believe play as a significant learning medium in the human lifespan. 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, master’s, 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.

DiE 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

Applied Theatre

Applied Theatre is the practice of theatre and drama in non-traditional settings and/or with marginalized communities. It encompasses theatre practices that tackle areas of social and cultural policy such as public health, education, housing, social welfare, and juvenile and criminal justice.

Students of Applied Theatre have worked in a range of locations – including homes for the elderly, community and recreational sites, and prison facilities. This specialization can help you become an active creator in the areas of political and guerilla theatre, theatre of the oppressed, theatre in prisons, and theatre for development, as well as preparing you to work with social service and community agencies.

The NYU Steinhardt’s Educational Theatre program is recognized as a major contributor to research and praxis in applied theatre. Faculty serve on major peer-reviewed editorial boards dedicated to applied theatre, including Applied Theatre Researcher, ArtsPraxis,  Journal of Applied Arts and Health, and Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance.

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.  

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

Theatre for Young Audiences and Play Production

Our Theatre Performance and Production specialization helps you become a part of the next generation of teaching artists, and privileges the making, presenting, and assessing of theatre. Through coursework in acting, directing, theatre design, and dramatic literature, you will devise theatre for all ages, as well as refine your craft in indigenous, classic, and contemporary drama.

There are opportunities throughout the year to take advantage of this specialization:

  • We have an active mainstage play production calendar, which includes many Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) performances. Students act, direct, design, write, and animate teacher resources for these productions.Students study the history and criticism of TYA and take internships with companies such as the New Victory Theatre on 42nd Street.
  • Playwriting courses are offered where students learn the craft of scripting TYA texts and then workshop the product in our experimental Black Box studio.
  • We offer an annual storytelling season in which New York’s finest artists perform for family audiences in the legendary, and newly renovated, Provincetown Playhouse.
  • A traveling troupe of student players, Shakespeare to Go, takes clever cuts of the Bard to New York City schools.
  • Participants in the student-run club Theatrix! experiment in TYA in a range of artistic modalities, from performer to producer.
  • We offer a summer play development series that connects students with renowned playwrights for workshopping; guest artists have included Jose Cruz Gonzalez, Lois Lowry, Diane Samuels, and Susan Zeder.

Graduates land impressive positions in worldwide TYA centers and cultural houses. Groundbreaking studies in TYA have been authored by NYU faculty and graduates.

Please note that these areas are not meant to delimit your focus, but rather highlight those fields of study where we can offer the most support and where our reputation has been built.