What does it look like to have youth embody activism through theatre, and how do they take what they learned through theatre and implement it in their everyday lives? Many enter the field of Theatre for Young Audiences because they believe young people (that is, youth that are 18 and younger) have the power to change the world. While the Theatre for Young Audiences field often produces plays that teach young people about the power of change, it is also important to consider how we center and amplify youth voices in the conversations about societal change. As a teaching artist and director of youth theatre, I have led two projects meant to teach young people about how they can create social change and to give them the tools to hone their own activist voices. In the first project, I directed Guns in Dragonland, a ten-minute play written by a youth playwright, with youth actors, that addressed gun violence; in the second project, I taught playwriting in school residencies to high school drama students with the intention of the students producing ten-minute plays about social change. This thesis explores these two projects compared to similar programs that explore gender and racial injustice through theatre with young people. I then ask the following questions: How much focus should be given to the process and the product? What is the role of the adult in a space of theatre for social change? What is the scope of theatre for social change that I am teaching, and how do I navigate student wellness throughout the process? This thesis will gather the best practices for teaching artist pedagogy as it applies to creating theatre for social change with young people.


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Graduation Date





Horn, Elizabeth


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


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program

Theatre; Theatre for Young Audiences


CFE0009246; DP0026850





Release Date

August 2022

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)