Theatre, Drama, Disabilities, Disabilities and the Arts, Special Needs
This case study investigates how participating in the process of drama and the product of theatre affects the lives of persons with developmental and physical disabilities. In the summer of 2008, I documented the experiences of the actors in Kaleidoscope, a five-week musical theatre program in which 18 teenagers and adults created an original musical theatre production through a partnership between Asolo Repertory Theatre and Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities in Sarasota, Florida. In an effort to understand how moving through the rehearsal process and culminating product influenced and changed the lives of the actors within the Kaleidoscope community, I conducted three rounds of interviews with eight selected actors and two rounds of interviews with artistic and clinical staff, as well as documented personal observations through my role as a participant/observer. The major through lines of my data detail how drama, movement, dance, and voice work cultivated change in the actors' socialization, self-confidence, and self-expression. While participating in the art shaped the actors' lives in a variety of ways, the production of Dream Out Loud grew from collaborative efforts that challenged and celebrated both individuality and equality within the spectrum of difference among the ensemble. As I also studied Kaleidoscope as a whole to guide the design of my own program, I sought to discover methods of sustaining growth that stem from participating in both the dramatic process and product. Due to their wide spectrum of disabilities, the actors experienced a variety of changes, and for some, no changes at all in socialization, self-confidence, and self-expression. I concluded that while every actor did not walk away from Kaleidoscope having made great changes within The Three Ss, participating in the program was an artistically and socially valuable experience for each actor.
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Weberman, Karen, "Through The Kaleidoscope Lens - The Affects Of The Dramatic Process And Product On The Lives Of Actors With Disabilities" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 4153.