Eastern Michigan University
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Applied Drama/Theatre for the Young

Master of Fine Arts in Applied Drama/Theatre for the Young

Master of Arts in Theatre w/ Concentration in Applied Drama/Theatre For The Young

One of only six comparable programs in the country, the graduate program in Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young is committed to the power of the theatre arts as a positive catalyst in the lives of young people and their communities. This field of study is organized around three principal contexts:

  • Applied Theatre for Community Development
  • Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA)
  • Drama/Theatre for Human Development and Education

The program offers two highly specialized degrees (both MFA and MA), and is available to both full- and part- time students. The program seeks to:

  • Foster a high level of artistry in theatre for young and family audiences.
  • Give a powerful voice to individuals and communities through performance.
  • Engage children and adolescents as both audience members and artists.
  • Enrich understanding about the power of the arts for teaching and learning.
  • Encourage new play development and the creation of original works.
  • Give students the practical skills to pursue these goals professionally in such contexts as professional or community theatre, pre K-12 education, university teaching, youth theatre, community recreation programs, social service initiatives, museums, elder care facilities, etc.

As a graduate student, you'll join a family of exceptional students from all over the U.S. and abroad. Many of our students and alumni have won national and international research and artistic awards. These include a DAAD Fellowship (the German equivalent of a Fulbright Scholarship), and the Don and Elizabeth Doyle Fellowship (presented by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education to graduate students with demonstrated potential to become leading artists in theatre for young audiences).

You'll be studying under a skilled faculty, experts in both academic and creative work in the discipline. Many of our faculty members have been invited to teach and direct around the country and abroad. They are regular presenters at conferences and maintain active schedules of creative work. Students also have the opportunity to present at the Graduate Research Fair and at national conferences in addition to producing their own creative projects.

In addition to your coursework, there are many co-curricular opportunities available to you as a graduate student at EMU, including:

  • Theatre of the Young Mainstage Production—Mainstage Theatre of the Young productions are presented for school audiences and the general public. Our recent productions include Go, Dog, Go!; Bud, Not Buddy; A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas; Pinocchio; The Snow Queen; and The Prince, The Wolf and the Firebird.
  • Theatre of the Young Touring Productions—We also present touring theatre productions that travel to local schools. Recent productions include Sideway Stories From Wayside School, Walking the Dog, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Antigone and The Bully Show.
  • CrossTown Theatre Troupe (CTT)
  • Applied Theatre
    • The "Safe Schools Project"
    • C2 (CloseUP Classroom)
    • Community Performance Project (CPP)

The program has a proven record of service and of sustained commitment to celebrating diversity. Our Drama/Theatre for the Young graduate students and faculty are heavily involved in community engagement and service to the EMU and southeastern Michigan communities. We partner with many community schools, arts and youth organizations such as Ypsilanti Head Start and Ozone House to develop arts-based projects that benefit the community through a wide variety of programs, including:

  • Academic Service Learning
  • GEAR UP and 21st Century Bright Futures
  • EMU's CloseUp Theatre Troupe
  • American Humanics
  • CrossTown Theatre Troupe

Representative Graduate Projects/Thesis

"Beyond the Briar Patch: An Anthology of African American Plays for Young Audiences"

"Creating and implementing the Mid-Michigan Youth Theatre and its inaugural production of HONK! "

"Negotiating Selves in a Foreign Land: an autoethnographic performance examining the complex issue of identity formation"

"Moving Forward by Playing Back: Using Drama to Unpack the Experience of Joblessness"

"A Tale of Two Princes, or 'What's the Big Whoop?'" (Performed research concerning the children's picturebook, King & King, by Linda De Haan & Stern Nijland)

Mainstage Production (Direction) of Bud Not Buddy, written by Christopher Paul Curtis and adapted for the stage by Reginald Andre Jackson

"CrossTown Theatre Troupe Handbook for future CTT teaching artists"

" Unexpected Journeys," (an ethnographic performance about the care-givers of chronically sick children)

"Using Improvisation to Bridge Social Barriers for Non-Native Speakers"

For more information, please contact Patricia Zimmer, pzimmer@emich.edu or Jessica "Decky" Alexander, Jalexande1@emich.edu.