Teaching Creativity

"I just came back from visiting Suzanne Burgoyne's class on Creativity. What an experience! The students were using their creative skills through a range of different exercises: some that tested their problem-solving skills, some that asked them to make analogies, some that forced them to think about an issue in 20 different ways. I left inspired and electrified. "Suzanne has something here! This could be a part of a campus-wide emphasis on teaching creativity (personally, I'd love to watch a bunch of engineers figure out 20 different ways to cross a floor!)"
- Nancy West, former Director of the MU Honors College.

What Do Creativity Courses Offer?

These creativity courses approach learning through a focus on imagination and original thought.  The pedagogy of the class comes from a combination of active learning techniques from actor training, improvisation, and Theatre of the Oppressed with creative problem-solving methods from multiple research-based sources.

“The most valuable thing I have gotten out of this class has been an ability to explore myself.” -MU Honors College Student

Why Teach Creativity Now?

Creativity has become a popular and crucial topic in the 21st century. The information age has ended and we’ve entered an era of constant change, requiring a shift in thinking. Navigating an increasingly complex world will require creativity; the U.S. must become an innovation center of the world to compete in the global economy; but there’s a problem.  Our schools still mimic the 100-year old model designed for the industrial era, with its emphasis on uniformity and standardization. To break the mold, we look to the theater and the arts.

“Our class has come a long way from a group of strangers on the first day. I feel comfortable to express my ideas and explore things during class that I never would have done in the first weeks of class. We have gotten to know each other and helped each other grow in our creative ability.” -MU Honors College Student

Developing the Creativity Courses

Anticipating the growing interest in integrating creativity into the curriculum, Center Director Suzanne Burgoyne took leave to develop a new course in creativity for the non-arts major. Burgoyne piloted the course in 2012 and has since taught a 3-credit version for the MU Honors College each spring.  Students responded so well to the first iteration that Nancy West, Director of the MU Honors College, asked Dr. Burgoyne to add a one-credit version for incoming Honors College freshmen each fall.

Book

Dr. Burgoyne’s edited volume, Creativity in Theatre: Theory and Action in Theatre/Drama Education, was published by Springer in Fall 2018. Presenting a variety of disciplinary perspectives, this book is the first collection exploring how drama education fosters the enhancement of creativity.  The purpose of this volume is to bridge the interdisciplinary abyss between the study of creativity in theatre/drama and in other fields. Creativity in Theatre book cover

Workshops

In addition to teaching creativity classes, we have also developed workshops for interested groups. Contact us for more information.