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So Much Drama!: Teaching High School Theatre

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This project and research intended to address how to successfully run and teach a high school level Theatre I course. The research portion of the project focused on activities to use in the classroom, how to run a drama club

This project and research intended to address how to successfully run and teach a high school level Theatre I course. The research portion of the project focused on activities to use in the classroom, how to run a drama club and put on productions, and how to create a positive classroom environment where students feel comfortable creating art. The creation portion of the project focused on the things a teacher will need in the classroom: an introduction letter, vision statement, syllabus, and unit plans. The final product includes three unit plans: Introduction to Theatre I, Introduction to Acting, and Theatre and Social Change. The use of the materials in this thesis can help first-time Theatre teachers to become better prepared to run their classroom.

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Date Created
2014-05

Once On This Island - An Exploration of Nontraditional Casting

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Only in the world of acting can an individual be denied a job simply on the basis of their appearance, and in my thesis, I sought to explore alternatives to this through the concept of nontraditional casting and casting against

Only in the world of acting can an individual be denied a job simply on the basis of their appearance, and in my thesis, I sought to explore alternatives to this through the concept of nontraditional casting and casting against "type", which included the presentation of a full-length production of the musical "Once on this Island" which I attempted to cast based on vocal quality and skill alone rather than taking physical characteristics into account. I researched the history and implementation of nontraditional casting, both in regards to race and other factors such as gender, socio-economic status, and disability. I also considered the legal and intellectual property challenges that nontraditional casting can pose. I concluded from this research that while nontraditional casting is only one solution to the problem, it still has a great deal of potential to create diversity in theater. For my own show, I held the initial auditions via audio recording, though the callback auditions were held in person so that I and my crew could appraise dance and acting ability. Though there were many challenges with our cast after this initial round of auditions, we were able to solidify our cast and continue through the rehearsal process. All things said, the show was very successful. It is my hope that those who were a part of the show, either as part of the production or the audience, are inspired to challenge the concept of typecasting in contemporary theater.

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2014-12

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Girl-becomings: girls theorizing girlhood through visual art, theatre, and digital communications

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Using arts-informed ethnographic approaches, theatrical techniques and a feminist/performance studies lens, this study analyzes the construction of US girlhood from the perspective of girls ranging in age from fourteen to seventeen by examining their original artistic creations and performances. Placing

Using arts-informed ethnographic approaches, theatrical techniques and a feminist/performance studies lens, this study analyzes the construction of US girlhood from the perspective of girls ranging in age from fourteen to seventeen by examining their original artistic creations and performances. Placing the artifacts of girl-created culture and the girls' representations, which I view as a performative practice, at the heart of my study, I connect girlhood studies to Butler's gender performance theories and to the larger field of performance studies. Rather than strictly analyzing these original works myself, I involve the girl participants as co-theorists in the analysis of the resulting artistic creations as a performance of girlhood. Through our theory building sessions, we aim to discover a nuanced understanding of girlhood and how gender identity can be performed by adolescent girls, as well as how artistic and theatrical practices can serve to assist youth in exploring complex issues. The adolescent female participants serve as active writers and performers of girlhood and through their writing and performances demonstrate their understanding of what it means to be a girl in contemporary US society. In viewing the girls as theorists, I demonstrate their capabilities while honoring their experiences and knowledge, an approach I believe should be more often employed in academia and in everyday life. Specifically, my study's central research question asks: how do US girls consume mass media representations of girlhood and reproduce or subvert these representations? In what ways do girls perform their understandings of their own identities and what it means to be a girl in contemporary US society through their creations of original art and literature, live theatrical pieces, and digital cultural practices? These works include theatrical performances, creative writing, self-portrait sculptures, and blogs/journals. Additionally, I conduct and analyze both solo and group interviews. I assert the importance of creative space and theatrical/artistic practices as tools with which girls can examine and challenge girlhood and gender discourses.

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Date Created
2014

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Identity spectrums, analytic adolescents, and gays in "space!: a qualitative investigation of youth queer narrative reception

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This research study examines the interaction between youth queer narratives and young people through examining my core research question, How do young people engage, interpret, and respond to queer narratives? Applying a feminist narrative analysis to examine the qualitative

This research study examines the interaction between youth queer narratives and young people through examining my core research question, How do young people engage, interpret, and respond to queer narratives? Applying a feminist narrative analysis to examine the qualitative data, I propose a methodological research shift where the voices of youth are valued as content experts; an artistic shift that moves content-creation away from a top down traditional media model and towards a youth-centered new media approach for art making; an aesthetic shift away from over-used stereotypes, tropes, and stale representations and instead innovate to represent intersectional, spectrum-based diversity of the LGBTQ+ experience.

This qualitative research study utilizes questionnaires, focus groups, and case study interviews, to engage adolescent perceptions of queer narratives. The youth, ranging in ages from 15 to 18 years old and living in the Phoenix, Arizona metro area, explore and examine LGBTQ+ themes, characters, plots in traditional and new media.

My dissertation examines youth interactions with queer narratives through three chapters. These address themes of: character, identity, and representation; plot and the search for accuracy; and the symbiotic exchange between narrative and community. Throughout the dissertation, young people analyze narratives, reflect on their own lives, and envision the future of youth queer narrative. The youth describe a move away from traditional media and towards new media platforms with user-created content, social network interaction, and the sharing of common experiences with peers. Finally, I examine the implications of both the research findings and the methodology on the future of youth-engaged qualitative research, as well as the performing arts.

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Date Created
2018