Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Theatre and Dance


College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Amy Lehman


The purpose of this thesis is to highlight the need for universal theatre exposure and experience in secondary education and to recommend a methodology for using theatre education to help students become engaged and empathetic adults. This task must be accomplished early in the young person’s life and should not be left to college professors with no training in pedagogy. The high school teacher, regardless of content area, is most equipped for developing empathy in students. He can best reach this goal with the help of dramatic literature and exploration.

The theatre ought to be viewed as a laboratory that can serve three important functions in secondary education. It can expose and engage students in histories and cultures with which they previously had no connection. It can give them collaborative experience in problem-solving, both in a practical and theoretical ways. Finally, it empowers students to express their own individuality, unique ideas and perspectives.

In conclusion, when high school students participate in theatre, both as practitioners and audience members, they develop dialogic empathy that prepares them for adulthood.