Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Leif Fearn, PhD; Dana L. Grisham, PhD; Donna Barnes, PhD


character development, children & youth, education, literacy, youth theater, student cognition


The purpose of this study is to explore the effects of student participation in youth theater on the students. Research suggests that theater arts have aided in building student cognition and contributed to the development of literacy. Davenport (1999) concluded that the experience and knowledge that one gains from theater arts form the basic building blocks for the skills needed to learn and to become literate. He added that creative expression is the actual production of a work of art, and this direct, personal involvement provides the experience base upon which cognitive development occurs. This cognitive development has practical application that reaches beyond performing on a stage. Students apply the skills they learn in their academic pursuits. This work represented students voices in order to explore how theater affects students beyond the stage and in their character development. This study accomplished its purpose by surveying and interviewing students who have participated in P.A. Theater. Data analysis identified themes in the research that explain, in the students’ voices, how participation in the arts affect their choices in the theater and beyond.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access