Our Research

An annotated bibliography of what’s informing our project.


Hanrahan, Fidelma and Robin Banerjee. Examining how involvement in theatre positively affected at-risk youth’s lives. “It Makes Me Feel Alive”: The Socio-Motivational Impact of Drama and Theatre on Marginalised Young People. Emotional & Behavioural Difficulties, vol. 22, no. 1, 01 Jan. 2017, pp. 35-49. EBSCOhost, summit.csuci.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1133894&site=ehost-live.

This study follows four individuals who have all been excluded from school systems due to behavioral issues. Over the course of more than a year, we see how the experience of being in the theatre had noticeable positive affects on their outlooks on life, as well as their views of themselves.Not the least of these factors being: the nurturing environment of the theatre, the consistent and positive role models that were present, and the camaraderie developed over time with other participants. The theatre allowed for effective self reflection and provided a positive activity for one to occupy their time, deterring them from partaking in negative or self destructive activities that many individuals like them are at risk of.



Potgieter, Amanda S. A look at how non-traditional education spaces encourage better social skill development and authentic behavior. Transforming Life Skills Education into a Life-Changing Event: The Case of the Musical “The Green Crystal”. Bulgarian Comparative Education Society, Bulgarian Comparative Education Society, 01 Jan. 2013. EBSCOhost, summit.csuci.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=ED567126&site=ehost-live

This report details the critical difference between the traditional classroom learning environment, and the more multi-faceted learning environment of the performing arts. The structure of the traditional classroom leaves very little room for dialogue, as the students must sit and absorb what the teacher is saying, with little to know regard for the individual opinions, abilities, and talents of the students. Dialogue is a critical part of humanity, and the musical environment provides students with the ability to be their authentic selves which are now in an environment which nurtures individual talents, abilities, and beliefs. This results in a far more effective development of critical life skills.



Akiba, Daisuke, et al. An in-depth look at how the mere involvement in theatre does not conduce improved sociability, but is greatly determined by individual factors, such as one’s personal goals and prioritizations. The Roles of Extracurricular Activities in the Lives of Children in Theater: A School-Based Contextual Analysis. Online Submission, Online Submission, 01 Jan. 2006. EBSCOhost, summit.csuci.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=ED491466&site=ehost-live.

This article follows two elementary school girls, both from the same class, who are both involved in extracurricular theatre activity. Acting, as an extracurricular, is different from others as it can be seen as both an “ego-oriented” as well as a “task-oriented” activity; one which can be pursued with either “learning goals” or “outcome goals”. The study finds that involvement in theatre does not explicitly result in improved social ability, but that improved social ability comes from a combination of one’s own personal reasons for doing theatre, their methods, how that passion is prioritized with other necessary facets of life, and how role models and authority figures influence the individual perception of each.



Corbett, Blythe A., et al. “Brief Report: Theatre as Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, vol. 41, no. 4, 01 Apr. 2011, pp. 505-511. EBSCOhost, summit.csuci.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ917921&site=ehost-live.

This article discusses a study involving the impact that theatre had socially on children with autism spectrum disorders. In the study “eight children with autism spectrum disorders (7 boys, 1 girl)…were paired with eight typically developing children (4 boys, 4 girls)… ages 6 to 17” (Corbett, 506) in a production of The Jungle Book. The article discusses similar forms of drama therapy that have been successful in other cases, as well as how the partners of the children with autism spectrum disorders helped them learn their parts through modeling. Participants in the study “showed an improvement in social perception…social awareness, and perspective taking” (Corbett, 509). The article can relate to our project because of this improvement. The sample size taken during the experiment is too small for the results to be seen as relevant (Corbett, 509). However, despite the sample size being relatively small, the study is still relevant to our project because of the potential it shows.



Hughes, Jenny and Karen Wilson. “Playing a Part: The Impact of Youth Theatre on Young People’s Personal and Social Development.” Research in Drama Education, vol. 9, no. 1, 01 Mar. 2004, pp. 57-72. EBSCOhost, summit.csuci.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ681240&site=ehost-live.

An article based on a study conducted using a poll of 300 young people attending youth theatre programs in England. The authors begin by looking at the idea of theatre as a way of creating positive change in youth and the popularity that the idea has gained in recent years. The article then defines what personal and social development is, the skills necessary for personal and social development, and the importance of personal and social development for young people as they mature. The article briefly touches upon the growth of youth theatre in England and the struggles for funding, then discusses the four main models of youth theatre present in England. These models are theatre/arts, community, youth arts, and applied theatre. The article mostly focuses on youth arts because this is the model whose main focus is on the personal and social development of the participants. The relevance of the article to our project lies with the impact that youth theatre had on the personal and social development of the young people participating in the study. The researchers had their own findings and received voluntary interviews from the young people who participated. What the young people said during the interviews supported the finds. According to the young people, youth theatre has had an impact on them in terms of “Improved confidence, improved performance skills, more friends/ improved ability to make friends, improved ability to be myself, greater open mindedness, increased happiness, diversion from getting into trouble, and an increased ability to deal with difficult/negative experiences” (Hughes and Wilson, 66-67).


Woodson, Stephani Etheridge. “Creating an Educational Theatre Program for the Twenty-First Century.” Arts Education Policy Review, vol. 105, no. 4, Mar/Apr2004, pp. 25-30. EBSCOhost, summit.csuci.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=13259993&site=ehost-live.

Discusses the importance of arts programs, specifically looking at theatre, in schools. In schools justification as to how the skills acquired in a program will help to prepare students for the world outside school. The arts are often left on the side of having little implication in the real world and are thus often underfunded and receive little time in standard curriculums. The author goes on to identify the many reasons as to why theatre is applicable to the real world and the benefits the students receive from taking part in theatre. Amongst the benefits listed are the social benefits, which is where the article relates to our project. These benefits include, but are not limited to cooperation, positive self-esteem, oral communications, and imagination/creativity (Woodson, 25). The author continues the rest of the article going into detail on how they think theatre should be taught in the twenty first century.

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