About the Center for Applied Theatre and Drama Research

21st century skills for students, artists, scholars, and everyone through the power of theatre.

What is Applied Theatre?
Applied Theatre and Drama” refers to theatre techniques as pedagogy in educational, community, and corporate settings, as well as social justice theatre.  Applied theatre provides active learning - the most effective way to learn.

Applied Theatre can help teachers stimulate students’ creative thinking, intercultural competencies, and other needed skills for the 21st century.

We provide a focus for interdisciplinary investigation.  Want to discuss a potential theatre application in your own field?  Please contact Suzanne Burgoyne burgoynes@missouri.edu

What we do
U.S. educational systems still emulate the factory model developed for the industrial age. Universities are teaching students for the past, not the future.

Research into how people actually learn, alas, seldom gets applied in classrooms. As biologist Craig Nelson argues in American Behavioral Scientist, “active learning techniques” have proven so superior to lecture that “now the burden of proof has shifted.” Yet lectures drone on.  

Theatre-making provides active learning for the makers. Actors, directors, designers learn by doing, not just listening.  As theatre artists and teachers, we have developed exercises through which students make discoveries about the world and themselves. In the 21st century, neuroscientists are announcing that no real learning takes place without the emotions being involved. Theatre practice brings mind, body, and feelings together to make learning meaningful. 

Our Mission
Our mission is to explore the application of theatrical processes to teaching and learning in multiple disciplines. We seek to collaborate with adventurous colleagues willing to join us in investigating this under-researched field.  


Suzanne Burgoyne
Director of Center