Making meaning: a study of the social, psychological, and spiritual impact of high school theatre on developing adults
This dissertation examines the impact of high school theatre on developing adolescents as they make the transition into adulthood. All of the participants were graduates of a private high school in a fairly large city in the mid-west. All were adults aged from 18 to 34. This is a qualitative study using in-depth interviews as the primary research tool and the methodology of portraiture to frame the interviews. The primary research question is the following: How do high school graduates describe their experience in high school theatre? The theoretical basis for this study is constructivist and includes Dewey's concept of art as experience, Bruner's emphasis on meaning-making, and Erikson's work in the human life cycle. There have been relatively few recent studies on the impact of high school theatre on constructing meaning, and therefore this study is possibly the first of its kind. The emerging data implies how graduates constructed meaning in the following social, psychological, artistic, and spiritual ways: 1) community is important in high school theatre and provides a context to create meaning 2) high school theatre helps the adolescent in the search for meaning 3) the art and craft of theatre provides a context for meaning-making through roles and rigor 4) theatre provides a context for meaning-making in its role as a puberty rite and a coming-of-age experience 5) theatre provides a context for varieties of spiritual experiences 6) theatre has educational benefits 7) theatre provides a context for imagination through metaphor 8) theatre provides a meaningful context for tradition. There is a need for further research to examine how the dramatic arts impact the social, psychological, and spiritual development of the adolescent into adulthood.
Sinclair-Wood, Terence Gireesh, "Making meaning: a study of the social, psychological, and spiritual impact of high school theatre on developing adults" (2010). School of Education Student Capstone Theses and Dissertations. 615.