Term of Graduation

Spring 1968

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.) in Theater Arts


Theater Arts




Drama in education



Physical Description

1 online resource (4, iii, 79 leaves)


This thesis was an endeavor to find the drama available for the elementary children of Portland, Oregon. In deciding what drama was for children two different forms were first researched. Children's theatre done by adults such as in community services, educational programs and professional and commercial theatres were studied. Drama by children, referred to as the less formalized drama, creative dramatics was also investigated.

To further examine the background of children's theatre in the United States, various children's theatres around the country were studied including the University Children's Theatre at Northwestern under the direction of Winifred Ward and Goodman Memorial Children's Theatre in Chicago under the direction of Charlotte Chorpenning. With the advent of the educational field into children's theatre culminating with the Children's Theatre Conference the movement became wide spread throughout the United States. A great deal has been done to spark children's drama not only in the viewing of children's plays in production but affording children actual participation in creative drama workshops and children's productions. More and more community theatres, commercial groups and universities are doing children's drama throughout the nation.

In an effort to find what was being offered to the Portland children in drama, the Portland Public Grade Schools were first approached. With the help of the Language Arts Supervisor five areas of drama for children were researched through reading and interviews. Although the Portland Public Grade Schools have no drama courses instructed by specific drama teachers they do encourage drama to be correlated into the classroom program and taught in “in service” courses for their teachers. The “model school program” has drama as a definite course and the Portland schools offer a summer school which has a creative drama course available to the elementary school children.

The University of Portland, a Catholic university in Portland, has achieved the most definite progress in the Portland area in children's theatre. They not only produce children's plays during the school year but offer creative drama and playwriting in their course of study. Under the instruction and production of Mrs. Catherine Roberts for the last six years they are striving to bring children's theatre to the Portland children and their teachers.

Portland does offer some excellent theatre for children in the community. The Portland Junior League, a service group, has nationally been involved throughout the years with their children's play productions by their groups for the school children of their communities. Now, after turning their productions over to Portland University they still maintain a very worthwhile program of puppetry for the school children of Portland. Portland Junior Civic Theatre, one of the oldest children's theatre groups in Portland, not only produces children's productions by children but conducts a children's drama school throughout the year. The Portland Park Bureau also takes an active part particularly during the summer in children's drama and training. The newest to Portland is the Playmaker's Group, relatively young but eager in its endeavor for the children of the area. Their efforts include both productions and schooling on a creative drama promise, with improvisational plays by the adult Playmaker casts.

Children's theatre in Portland is developing but has faced many problems and has many more to surmount. The progress of the active workers in this movement show hope for the future for the children of Portland.

The appendix of the thesis is devoted to several programs involved with the teaching of drama. First is a course in creative drama offered to college students in the colleges and universities having such courses in their curriculum. A creative drama course correlated with the regular classroom subjects in the Portland Grade School Curriculum is also included. Last, a summer school plan for community theatre is shown.

All the arts combine in the theatre, decor, the dance, impersonation, effective speech, the song, pantomime, the projection of personality, the art of suppressing self and even ill will, for the unity of effort. Hundreds of other arts could be listed including the art of living together and the art of creative imagination. That is why the play can never be omitted from child education.


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