Occidental Children's Theatre: The Importance of Monkeying Around


Brenan Dwyer

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This project compares the benefits of children?s play and theatre for children. I hypothesized that the intellectual, emotional and psychological benefits for a developing child would be very similar for both the activities. Research shows that many anthropologists and psychologists, as well as theatre artists, recognize the connection between theatre and play. Many support the idea that theatre is a form of play. To test my hypothesis, I distributed an audience survey at the Occidental Children?s Theatre show The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Rogers. The survey intended to measure the effects of the show on the audience and compare them to the effects of normal play behavior. The survey results were inconclusive. This was partially because the survey tested the audience members? perceptions of the show?s effects, rather than objectively measuring the data. The results were also inconclusive because of a lack of participants and a small amount of time in which to collect data. Though the results were inconclusive, they do indicate a connection between play and children?s theatre. Though the benefits of each may not be identical, they have enough similarities to connect the two as helpful and important tools in child development.


Jaime Angell




Ford Research Endowment

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