• Home
  • Teaching Theatre

Teaching Theatre

If you are interested in teaching theatre with young people of all ages, you are advised to major in Theatre at KU and to take the following junior/senior level courses through which you will create and lead drama plans with local children in grades 1-6; create curricula in acting, devising, and stagecraft for grades 6-12; and study professional TYA company programs to prepare as an Education Director:

THR 404 Children and Drama
Exploration of forms, methods, and materials appropriate for development of elementary-age children in dramatic arts. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2019 semester.

THR 445 Teaching Theatre in the Middle/Secondary Schools
Study of philosophy and methods appropriate to teaching improvisation, acting, stagecraft, directing, playwriting, dramatic literature, and theatre history in middle/secondary schools. Includes curriculum development, instructional and evaluative strategies, and management of co-curricular theatre programs. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2019 semester.

THR 603 Theatre for Young Audiences
A survey of theories, history, literature, criticism, production methods, and audience research about theatre performed by adults for children and adolescents. Emphasis is on child development and community outreach. Prerequisite: THR 308 or consent of instructor. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2019 semester.

Teaching Careers in Theatre

Teaching Artist or Intern and Education Director at Professional Theatre Companies:

You can teach a wide array of theatre classes with young people of all ages at many TYA companies across the country that offer extensive pre K-12 educational programs. For example, KU theatre students have worked at the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, CLIMB, Omaha Theatre for Young People, and Seattle Children’s Theatre.Read articles in the Teaching Artist journal for examples of artists-in-residence in schools and other performing arts centers.

Locally, you can practice teaching theatre classes as an undergraduate student at the Lawrence Arts Center and Theatre Lawrence and through summer programs at the Coterie Theatre in KCMO, Topeka Civic Theatre Academy, and Theatre for Young America.

After graduating from KU, you may also obtain an M.F.A. degree in Theatre for Youth (e.g., Arizona State U, U of Texas at Austin, Eastern Michigan U, U of North Carolina-Greensboro, U of Central Florida, Emerson College, etc.).

Teaching Theatre in Public (or Private) Schools
In order to teach in public schools, you are required to obtain a teaching license through an accredited university program in Education. The State of Kansas does not offer teaching licenses in K-12 Theatre (unlike visual art and music), but does offer licenses for grades 6-12 in Theatre connected with Speech Communication. However, KU’s School of Education discontinued its Theatre/Speech program in 2006.

Therefore, you are advised to graduate from KU with a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre and then take additional Education courses at another university (e.g., Baker, Emporia State, Kansas State, etc.) in order to obtain a Kansas teaching license. See Speech/Theatre licensure (pp. 130-132) in Regulations and Standards for Kansas Educators or apply for the Restricted Teaching License Alternative Pathway at http://www.ksde.org/.

You may also take Education courses in one of 16 other states that license K-12 (or 6-12) Theatre (without requiring Speech). For example, see respective State Departments of Education in AZ, IL, MN, NC, NY, OH, PA, TN, TX, UT, WA, WI, etc.

You don’t necessarily need a teaching license to teach theatre in private schools, but you may be required to obtain at least a Master’s degree in Theatre (at KU or elsewhere).

Drama Therapy or Applied Theatre
What is drama therapy?

At the graduate level, Sally Bailey at Kansas State offers summer-intensive and semester courses in drama therapy, or see Educational or Applied Theatre programs at NYU, CUNY, and other colleges.

Teaching Theatre (PDF)

Upcoming Events
Connect with KU Theatre & Dance