Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


The intent of this study is to show how the principle of teaching in role through Theatre for Youth, Participation Theatre and Creative Drama were used by Dino Hayz to teach young people about exhibits at the Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science in Davenport, Iowa from 1990 to 2001. When it began, the Heritage Theatre at the Putnum Museum offered short plays or monologues performed in and relating to the museum exhibits. These pieces were performed for the general public, adults and youth. The Theatre Coordinator was Margo Stites. Under the direction of Dino Hayz the role of theatre at the Putnam changed. Drama became a way of educating student patrons about the museum exhibits by involving them as actors in the plays and participants in Creative Drama activities which were derived from exhibit material. The lesson plans were built to serve specific age groups and were offered to compliment school curriculums.

The lesson plans and scripts discussed in this paper are the creation of Dino Hayz, an actor, director and writer who saw the potential of drama as a teaching tool in the museum setting. As a result of the early success of Hayz's educational drama programs, the museum gave him more freedom to write scripts, direct plays and execute his lesson plans. With this new freedom the program itself took on new purpose. This purpose was to educate students about the exhibits in the museum in an interactive way, which would allow them to see more easily how their lives related to the information. The evolution of his teaching in role work, through trial and error, will be discussed herein by referring to his career at the Putnam in four phases. The phases denote blocks of time which will be discussed in chronological order.

Theatre for Youth, theatre done by or for young audiences, and Creative Drama, a method of teaching through drama activities, are ways of breaking away from traditional teaching methods. (Mccaslin, 6) These methods of teaching focus on participation and creativity as a way to urge students to solve problems through critical thinking and relate personal experience to the world around them. (Hayes, Schindel, 2) With a background in writing, directing and producing adult drama, it is fascinating to realize that Hayz had no prior experience or training in the area of Creative Drama or Theatre for Youth. The success of the theatre at the Putnam under his direction cannot be credited to his application of learned material. Instead, he saw what the audience responded to most and learned from best and the program grew from his insight.

This study is significant because it documents how Creative Drama, Participation Theatre and Theatre for Youth were successfully implemented into the educational programming of a museum. It encourages the reader to see the merits of a theatrical form that emphasizes the involvement of the participants for educational purposes, as opposed to performance based theatre. Since Hayz's programs were successful in Participation Theatre, Creative Drama and Theatre for Youth in a museum setting, this study has importance for education, theatre and museum professionals, and serves as an information resource for all.

Year of Submission



Department of Theatre

First Advisor

Gretta Berghammer


Appendices B through N of this paper refer to presentation scripts by other authors and are not being made available at this time through UNI ScholarWorks.

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Date Original


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