Theatre, Theatre for Youth, Theatre Trends, Sweden, TYA Companies


As a practitioner in the field of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA), I have always been drawn to looking at literature and productions that challenge my preconceptions of what constitutes good theatre for youth. I enjoy the bold and innovative, versus the cute and playful. My training and education in this developing branch of theatre has undoubtedly exposed me to the many accomplishments of the American TYA system, but quite often - through attending conferences, as well as participating in class discussions - I find that many debates/conversations center around what more we need to do in this field or what else we can do to make this field more relevant and interesting to young people. In my experience, I've found that discussions and opinions center around Americans looking elsewhere for theatrical models on which to shape their own practices. I began looking at international models of TYA, particularly those of European countries. Historically, theatre has been recognized and valued as an essential part of traditional European life, and Sweden is often recognized as a forerunner in creating and supporting experimental art forms. With this, I question what American theatre educators and artists can learn from Swedish TYA as we work to create more artistic and educational outlets that incorporate the youth perspective of the 21st Century. For this thesis, my interest lies in what I can learn from Swedish TYA. I question how major social and cultural factors shape Swedish children's theatre as a field, and how those factors play out within the artistic arena. I dissect various social and cultural factors in Sweden that contribute to the TYA field, and examine if/how two pieces of Swedish dramatic literature for children reflect those trends and influences occurring in Swedish theatrical practice. Specifically, I also examine how Swedish TYA scripts use elements of non-realism, and deal with taboo topics. Through an exploration of The Dreamed Life of Nora Schahrazade and One Night in February, I find considerable use of elements that extend beyond realistic norms, and it is through those non-realistic approaches that the taboo issues are dissected and explored.


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Graduation Date



Alrutz, Megan


Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program









Release Date

April 2009

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)