Articles & Papers: Theater Education

Oreck, B (2017). Making Another World: Relationships in Playwriting A Study of High School Playwriting Students. International Journal of Education & the Arts


A study of former participants in high and middle school playwriting programs investigated students’ perceptions of their experiences. After 20+ years of partnerships in a wide range of schools, Washington D.C.’s Young Playwrights’ Theater examined how and why playwriting works and for whom. How does the form and process of writing plays motivate students, including some who don’t like to write or struggle in English class? The results offer intriguing insights about the nature of playwriting and the impact of relationships with mentors, peers, and audiences to influence students’ skills, motivation and self-perceptions as writers.

Citation: Oreck, B. (2017). Making another world: Relationships in playwriting. A study of high school students. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 18(12). Retrieved from

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Oreck, B. and McAndrews, D. "My words fly up, my thoughts remain below":The challenge of assessing student learning in the Shakespeare classroom. A paper presented at the American Education Research Association Annual Meeting March 25, 2008, New York City.

BSTRACT: How does acting in a Shakespeare play differ from reading it? What theatrical approaches will be effective in reaching students who have never read a Shakespeare play before? For theater companies working in schools, the answers to these questions are critical to understanding and demonstrating the value of their work as part of the language arts, classics, and drama curricula. Over the last eight years the Shakespeare Theatre Company has studied those basic questions through the development of a new student assessment process to better understand what students are learning through its Text Alive! program. This paper presents the results of the initial testing and research conducted between 2005 and 2008.

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Oreck, B., Baum, S., & Owen, S. (2004). Assessment of potential theater arts talent in young people: The development of a new research-based assessment process, Youth Theatre Journal, (18).

ABSTRACT: We report on the results of a new process for identifying potential talent in a diverse population of untrained elementary school students.

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Oreck, B. (2008). STAA Survey Report: Report to the National Endowment for the Arts on the initial survey of Shakespeare Theatre Companies.

ABSTRACT:The first stage of this investigation yielded an interesting (but far from complete) picture of the state of Shakespeare education programs in schools. 84 theater companies representing all regions of the country as well as Canada, Britain and South Africa responded to the online survey. The responses provide a broad general overview of the programming professional theater companies provide in collaboration with schools. The statistical data on the types of programs, numbers of schools, students and teachers reveal the magnitude of drama-based Shakespeare programming across the country but cannot be considered a reliable statistic due to the different ways in which the companies count their activities and participants. While this is just a first step, it is perhaps the broadest investigation to date of this particular aspect of arts education programming in the U.S. and sets the stage for further research.

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