Date of Award


Document Type

Distinction Paper

Degree Name



Theatre & Dance


Dr. Jessie Glover

First Committee Member

Jessie Glover, PhD

Second Committee Member

Lenny Leibowitz

Third Committee Member

Deborah Solomon, PhD


Theatre, History

Subject Categories

Theatre History


Our theatre practices are just as diverse and rich as everything else in our history and often are products of the climate in which they are created. Medieval European churches utilized the stage to convey their truths to peasants and church services can be described as nothing less than a spectacle. Complete with flying set and prop pieces and grand entrances with echoing chants made for quite a sight. In this way theatre was a teaching tool. In Native American ritual practices, the dances and chanting were often meant to bring upon a literal climate change, asking the spirits to bring a bountiful harvest and the rains needed to grow it. In this way theatre was a prayer. In Moliére’s comedies, religious hypocrisy was attacked and, though not appreciated by the Church, was met with great enthusiasm by the king who even commissioned the playwright and actor to write for him (Graham, 42-43). In this way theatre was a political statement.These few brief examples demonstrate to us plainly that theatre is not simply putting on a play for the entertainment of the masses (though there are plenty of those to go around). Theatre and Art reflect the current state of the world we live in and often portrays a world we should wish to strive for.