Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (U.S.); Drama -- Study and teaching;


This paper was used as an evaluation of the creative dramatics programming of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. It provides a brief history of the Kennedy Center from its conception, chronicling its development and construction, and explaining the purpose and philosophy of the Education Division as described in the Congressional Act that made a National Performing Arts Center possible. The operations of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts are diverse; the Education Division functions as the primary source of programming for children. The recent addition of creative dramatics classes for young people aged five to seventeen provided the first opportunity for children to participate actively in an educational theater art form. Previously, the programming for children consisted of performances for young audiences. The expansion of the Education Division's operations to include participatory courses for children introduced new artistic and administrative problems: the need to formulate general management principles and teaching guidelines for a specific theater discipline. This thesis examined one performing arts center and its creative dramatics program, proposed a creative dramatics teaching structure compatible with the Center's administrative policies and made recommendations for improvements in the existing program.

The works of Winifred Ward, Geraldine Brain Siks, Brian Way and Ruth Beall Heinig were used as a basis for the creative dramatics teaching guidelines. This thesis presents a brief history of creative dramatics, a discussion of each author's philosophies and techniques and a teaching format that incorporates the suggestions of Ward, Siks, Way and Heinig. The current creative dramatics programming of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is examined. Included are evaluations of the facilities, personnel and administrative policies of the creative dramatics courses sponsored by its Programs for Children and Youth division. Interviews were conducted with the Director of Education, Producing Director of Programs for Children and Youth and the course instructors. The author's observations of individual classes and general operations of the courses were also used. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the weaknesses in the existing program and lists specific recommendations for improvement. Evaluation and recommendations are based on the unified teaching format developed from Ward, Siks, Way and Heinig.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Theatre


Department of Communication and Theatre Arts

First Advisor

Jay Edelnant


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to scholarworks@uni.edu and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (87 pages)



File Format