fbpx Theatre Education, Pedagogy, and Training | HowlRound Theatre Commons

Theatre Education, Pedagogy, and Training

In this section, content focuses on best practices and challenges regarding education and scholarship in the theatre. Check out the Latinx Theatre Commons’ series Pedagogy Notebook, where artists, educators, and scholars share their process and work in the classroom, and David Dudley’s long-running guide to theatre education.

The Latest

Ibn Daniyal and Puppetry 
Podcast
Ibn Daniyal and Puppetry 
by Marina Johnson, Nabra Nelson, Sarah Fahmy
2 July 2024
People of the Cave
Podcast
People of the Cave
by Marina Johnson, Nabra Nelson
18 June 2024
Art as a Weapon (Youth Against Invasion), Part One
Essay
Art as a Weapon (Youth Against Invasion), Part One
by The Freedom Theatre
17 June 2024
A promotional graphic for Kunafa and Shay featuring Sarah Fahmy
Ibn Daniyal and Puppetry 
Podcast

Ibn Daniyal and Puppetry 

2 July 2024

Hosts Marina Johnson and Nabra Nelson look at MENA and SWANA puppetry traditions with guest artivist Dr. Sarah Fahmy. They talk about her production of the first recorded full play in English of Ibn Daniyal, The Shadow Spirit; the Aragoz Puppet; and, coming more into current puppetry practice by MENA folks, Fahmy's own ecofeminist puppetry practice.

A promotional graphic for Kunafa and Shay featuring ancient architecture.
People of the Cave
Podcast

People of the Cave

18 June 2024

Hosts Marina Johnson and Nabra Nelson talk about Egyptian playwright Tawfiq al-Hakim and his “unstageable” classic play People of the Cave. They provide historical context of the play, al-Hakim’s career, and the Christian and Islamic stories that served as al-Hakim’s inspiration.

A zoom meeting featuring the authors of Youth Against Invastion.
Art as a Weapon (Youth Against Invasion), Part One
Essay

Art as a Weapon (Youth Against Invasion), Part One

17 June 2024

In the first installment of this two-part conversation, artists from The Freedom Theatre in Jenin, Palestine and Al Límite Collective in New York City come together to discuss the work of The Freedom Theatre and its school and the creation of Youth Against Invasion.

student with a mic standing on stage in front of an oversized book open to a page that reads once upon a time.
Mic Check Mind Check Money Check
Video

Mic Check Mind Check Money Check

The Culminating Money Jam of the 2024 Hip Hop FinFest Rap Song Competition and Contest

Wednesday 5 June 2024
New York City

Featuring winning student performances, guest artists, money stories with MC Dyalekt, and community conversations about one of the most crucial topics in our lives: money.

A group of primary school students pose for a picture outside.
How One Nigerian Theatre Project Turned Students into Climate Activists
Essay

How One Nigerian Theatre Project Turned Students into Climate Activists

5 June 2024

Eseovwe Emakunu and Anita Anoma of Shanty Theatre recently launched a campaign that brought together primary school performers and university audiences for a dance drama performance about climate change. They discuss the creative process and impact of this performance project, which catalyzed action and learning about the impact of climate change and deforestation in Nigeria.

A promotional graphic for Teaching Theatre.
On Collaboration
Podcast

On Collaboration

14 May 2024

Theatre is a collaborative art.  In this week’s episode, host Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder talks with Padraic Lillis, artistic director of the Farm Theatre and Jennifer Goff,  professor at Centre College, about the collaborative process. Drawing from their experience developing a new play through the Farm Theatre project, Padraic and Jennifer discuss the ways in which collaboration helps students learn to think critically, communicate effectively, take risks, and analyze text.

A promotional graphic for Teaching Theatre.
On Teaching Dramaturgy
Podcast

On Teaching Dramaturgy

7 May 2024

Dramaturgs serve productions in a variety of ways, which are often dictated by needs of the play and the playwright. Playwright and dramaturg Jacqueline Goldfinger, along with dramaturg and dean of the Theatre School at DePaul University Martine Kei Green-Rogers, join the conversation to discuss the role of the dramaturg in new play development, as well as how to incorporate dramaturgy in the classroom.

A promotional graphic for Teaching Theatre.
On Reinventing the Canon
Podcast

On Reinventing the Canon

30 April 2024

As conversations about the diversity and decolonization of syllabi continue, many theatre programs reconsider the texts they teach.  In this episode, host Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder talks with Nathan Alan Davis from Boston University and Yizhou Huang from St. Louis University about reinventing the canon. They question who controls the narrative, discuss what qualifies as canon, and offer up some suggestions for course redesign.

Teaching Theatre episode teaser
On Devising in the Classroom
Podcast

On Devising in the Classroom

16 April 2024

More and more theatre departments are incorporating devising into their training. This highly collaborative process allows students to generate their own work, giving them ownership of the final product. Theatre professors Andy Paris (North Carolina School of the Arts) and Emily K. Harrison (Hamilton College) discuss their process, how they engage students, and the benefits of allowing students agency in the creation of their own work. 

teaser image for Teaching Theatre episode
On Season Selections and Casting
Podcast

On Season Selections and Casting

9 April 2024

As universities put more emphasis on collaboration, inclusion, and student buy-in, theatre departments address these issues in their season planning and casting. In this episode, Dr. Colleen Rua, interim associate director and assistant professor of theatre, dives deep into the practices that the School of Theatre and Dance the University of Florida has put in place in order to create a more equitable planning and casting process.   

A promotional graphic for the Teaching Theatre Podcast with guest headshots.
On Teaching Difficult Material
Podcast

On Teaching Difficult Material

2 April 2024

Whether in rehearsal or in the classroom, theatre educators are often confronted with uncomfortable conversations. In this episode of Teaching Theatre, Megan Gogerty (University of Iowa) and Darren Canady (University of Kansas) discuss how they tackle challenging material in their classrooms, reframing the idea of what is “difficult,” getting to the root of discomfort, creating classroom agreements.

Teaser image for Teaching Theatre Season 1 Episode 2.
On Teaching Work Ethic
Podcast

On Teaching Work Ethic

26 March 2024

Guests Jennifer Blackmer (Ball State University) and Marcus Lane (University of Montevallo) join host Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder for a deep dive into how theatre professors can help our students find a healthy, productive work-life balance.  

A promotional graphic for Teaching Theatre.
Welcome to Teaching Theatre
Podcast

Welcome to Teaching Theatre

19 March 2024

Host Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder talks with Valerie Curtis-Newton (University of Washington) and Cynthia Henderson (Ithaca College) about the changes and challenges university theatre training programs are facing in this moment, as well as some strategies to address these issues. This premiere episode touches on many of the topics we will discuss throughout the season: work ethic, teaching difficult material, and reinventing the canon, and more.

Deen Rawlins-Harris stands in front of a scenic vista.
Building Trust in New Waters as a Teaching-Artist
Essay

Building Trust in New Waters as a Teaching-Artist

19 March 2024

Teaching-artist Deen Rawlins-Harris reflects on their time facilitating an educational theatre residency at a school in St. John, United States Virgin Islands (STJ). They viewed Cinnamon Bay, a beach in STJ, as a teacher, and learned lessons that helped them have a stronger connection to students and reject settler colonial, hierarchical teaching structures.

Two people pose in graduation attire.
Teaching Dramaturgy as a Creative Practice 
Essay

Teaching Dramaturgy as a Creative Practice 

13 March 2024

Jessica Elaine Ellison challenges training programs to position dramaturgs as creatives. Through this framing, these programs have the opportunity to expand and innovate in the way that embraces the expansiveness of dramaturgs working in the field. 

Three actors rehearse a scene with large pieces of blue fabric.
Recasting, Restorying, and Restructuring Shakespeare for Liberation
Essay

Recasting, Restorying, and Restructuring Shakespeare for Liberation

4 March 2024

Educator Rainier Pearl-Styles recounts their experience of devising a show in response to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, using tenets of Paolo Freire’s theory of liberatory education. Through recasting, restorying, and restructuring, the participants were able to use Shakespeare as a tool for understanding power and identity.  

A promotional graphic for Daughters of Lorraine.
Opening the Channel with Masi Asare
Podcast

Opening the Channel with Masi Asare

28 February 2024

Masi Asare is an assistant professor of theater and performance studies at Northwestern University. She is a songwriter and dramatist and also works as a performance scholar specializing in the study of race and vocal sound and musicals. On this episode, hosts Jordan Ealey and Leticia Ridley interview Masi on her experiences as a Black woman working in musical theatre and why Black women’s vocal training is so important. 

El Cruce event poster.
Canales Abiertos 2023: El Cruce | Open Channels 2023: The Crossing
Video

Canales Abiertos 2023: El Cruce | Open Channels 2023: The Crossing

Finding Our Place in the Caribbean Cultural Landscape

Sunday 14 January 2024
New Orleans, Santiago de Cuba, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo

Members of the global learning community Canales Abiertos | Open Channels premiered a new thirty-five minute documentary video together about their one-week residency in Santiago de Cuba in July 2023.

A performer with a glum facial expression sits on the floor during a show.
Resisting “Yes, And” Culture and Learning to Say No
Essay

Resisting “Yes, And” Culture and Learning to Say No

8 January 2024

Sara Bozin explores the advice for performers within the theatre industry of saying “yes” to everything, how it infringes on the autonomy of theatremakers, and why and how one must learn to say no.

Three actors in brightly colored clothing and masks perform outside.
Commedia Gets a New Face
Essay

Commedia Gets a New Face

14 December 2023

Mask maker Tara Cariaso details her process for creating new masks for Commedia dell’arte, alongside a pedagogy that removes the harmful stereotypes originally embedded in the form and creates space for more actor agency. 

A promotional graphic for the Kunafa and Shay podcast.
Affinity Spaces for Middle Eastern and North African/Southwest Asia and North African and LGBTQIA+ Artists
Podcast

Affinity Spaces for Middle Eastern and North African/Southwest Asia and North African and LGBTQIA+ Artists

13 December 2023

Affinity spaces have been an undercurrent of discussion across the three seasons of Kunafa and Shay. In this live session at the 2023 MENATMA Convening at Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco, in partnership with Mizna+RAWIfest, Marina and Nabra sit down with artists to discuss the nuances of MENA and SWANA affinity spaces and MENATMA, Mizna, and RAWI’s roles in facilitating national cultural affinity among artists of intersectional identities.

Failure, Fascism, and Teachers in American Theatre: Pedagogy of the Oppressors Event Poster.
Failure, Fascism, and Teachers in American Theatre: Pedagogy of the Oppressors
Video

Failure, Fascism, and Teachers in American Theatre: Pedagogy of the Oppressors

An Evening with Jim Wilson and Jordan Schildcrout Discussing Wilson's Latest Book

Monday 13 November 2023
United States

Join us for an evening with Jim Wilson and Jordan Schildcrout discussing Wilson's latest book Failure, Fascism, and Teachers in American Theatre: Pedagogy of the Oppressors. This timely and accessible book explores the shifting representations of schoolteachers and professors in plays and performances primarily from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in the United States.

event poster for the Middle Eastern North African Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA) 2023 convening.
Fourth Annual Convening of the Middle Eastern North African Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA)
Video

Fourth Annual Convening of the Middle Eastern North African Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA)

Conversations About the Present and Future of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Theatre

Saturday 28 October and Sunday 29 October 2023
San Francisco, CA

Does a Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) leader necessarily mean it's easier for MENA work to get produced? How do MENA theatremakers and educators from K-12 to university settings navigate questions of cultural competency, representation, and omission? How can we work together with other networks of color towards shared goals for our communities? MENATMA presented a weekend of intercommunity dialogues, panels, and keynotes to explore the state of MENA theater and artist sustainability moving forward.

Ten actors link arms with each other during a performance.
Balancing Trauma and Joy While Teaching Queer Theatre History
Essay

Balancing Trauma and Joy While Teaching Queer Theatre History

24 October 2023

Theatre professor John Michael DiResta reflects on teaching queer theatre history to students who have had very different lived queer experiences than he had growing up. By investigating queer theatrical history from a contemporary lens and with an invitation to engage and make something new, his students were able to find the joy in history where they previously only saw trauma.

A large group of people standing in a circle on a stage with one person crouched in the center.
An Approach to Content Warnings in the Theatre Classroom
Essay

An Approach to Content Warnings in the Theatre Classroom

23 October 2023

Theatre educator Sofia Lindgren Galloway explores the complicated question of whether one should use content warnings when teaching theatre, and offers an approach for others to consider.

Subscribe to HowlRound

Sign up for our daily, weekly, or quarterly emails so you never miss the latest theatre conversations.

Sign me up

Supporting HowlRound

We fundraise to keep all our programs free and open and to pay our contributors. Thank you to all who make our work possible!

Donate today