As a teaching artist and theatre educator, I believe an important part of the theatre-going experience is when an audience engages with the play before and after the performance: learning about context, analyzing the production, and identifying themes relevant to the play. Theatre is a powerful teaching tool with regards to empathy and political and social awareness, but also, for young audiences, theatre can help students understand content in other subject areas like language arts, history, and even health. This thesis develops best practices for creating effective audience engagement with young people in theatre in the form of Field Trip Plus at Orlando Repertory Theatre, an enrichment program linking professional season productions to pre- and post-show workshops. It explores the following questions: What is audience engagement, and what are the benefits of audience engagement practices on retention and meaning-making? What is the history of audience engagement in Theatre for Young Audiences, and what are some examples of TYA companies intentionally engaging young people before and after performances? It focuses specifically on the development of Theatre-In-Education in the United Kingdom as an example of integrated drama and education practice which is supported by the pedagogy of Lev Vygotsky, Dorothy Heathcote, and Augusto Boal. It considers how the work of these theorists can also be applied to Field Trip Plus. This thesis is the personal exploration of a teaching artist practicing engagement strategies within Orlando Repertory Theatre, an established Theatre for Young Audiences, that will help young people make connections between state education standards and the play, cultivate their curiosity for learning through the arts, and become life-long active audience members.
Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Theatre; Theatre for Young Audiences Track
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Woods-Robinson, Julie, "Audience Engagement in Theatre for Young Audiences: Teaching Artistry to Cultivate Tomorrow's Theatre-Goers" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5861.