communication, collaboration, Theatre for Young Audiences, Button, Community Agreement, Critical Response Process


When working with a new group of people, it is common practice to create a Community Agreement in pursuit of quality outcomes. This tool uses dialogue to methodically outline the desired educational or creative environment, democratically articulating the commitments and expectations to remain in place throughout the duration of the group's existence and setting all participants in accord with the work to come. However, the Community Agreement can fail to support individual participants during moments of inevitable tension. In such moments, participants may experience unplanned emotional or physical reactions in response to triggering material or ideas. To navigate these reactions and ensure the Community Agreement is sustained throughout the entire process, it is necessary to introduce specific operational tools. One solution lies in Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process (CRP) and Theatrical Intimacy's boundary-establishing practice of “Button,” which are tools commonly found within the theatrical setting that strategically work to guide participants through moments of heightened tension so they can return their focus to the overall objective.

This thesis begins by demonstrating an instance where the Community Agreement fails to support participants when uncontrollable discourse arises in the graduate classroom. I present the addition of CRP and “Button” as appropriate and effective solutions to remedy this observed weakness and test them in the undergraduate classroom. Turning focus to my field of study, the last part of this thesis contextualizes these dialogical tools in the Theatre for Young Audiences field, offering suggestions regarding the application of these tools with Elementary, Middle, and High School students.

Completion Date




Committee Chair

Edmonson, Chloë Rae


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


College of Arts and Humanities


School of Performing Arts

Degree Program

Theatre for Young Audiences






In copyright

Release Date

May 2024

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Campus Location

Orlando (Main) Campus

Accessibility Status

Meets minimum standards for ETDs/HUTs