© 2012

Artistic Literacy

Theatre Studies and a Contemporary Liberal Education

  • Authors

Part of the The Arts in Higher Education book series (AHE)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Introduction: A Call to Action

    1. Nancy Kindelan
      Pages 1-18
  3. The Makings of a Contemporary Liberal Education

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 19-19
    2. Nancy Kindelan
      Pages 21-49
    3. Nancy Kindelan
      Pages 51-59
    4. Nancy Kindelan
      Pages 61-73
  4. The Pedagogies and Strategies of Theatre Studies

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 75-75
    2. Nancy Kindelan
      Pages 105-115
    3. Nancy Kindelan
      Pages 117-134
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 145-196

About this book


Exploring the ways undergraduate theatre programs can play a significant role in accomplishing the aims and learning outcomes of a contemporary liberal education, Kindelan argues that theatre's signature pedagogy helps all undergraduates become actively engaged in developing critical and value-focused skills.


education learning literacy stage theatre theatre studies

About the authors

Nancy Kindelan is Associate Professor in the Theatre Department at Northeastern University, USA, where she teaches dramatic literature courses and directs plays. She has published widely on theatre studies in higher education, dramatic literature, and dramaturgy, including the book Shadows of Realism: Dramaturgy and the Theories and Practices of Modernism (1997). In 2004, Northeastern University presented her with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Bibliographic information


"Kindelan redefines theatre's place in liberal education by stressing productions of scripted plays. Changing widespread perceptions of theatre as frivolous entertainment may depend ultimately on students willing to advance their intellectual skills and civic responsibilities, together with educators willing to change their teaching-as-usual practices. By acting upon the actions promoted in [Artistic Literacy], we may achieve what could be a better future for theatre education." - Theatre Topics

"Kindelan makes a valuable argument for the appropriateness of including theater studies in a liberal arts curriculum . . . This book is a call to action: it arms faculty and administrators with information about recent developments in theater studies' pedagogical goals and approaches to liberal arts education that suggest integrating theater studies in a liberal arts program at institutions of higher education. Summing Up: Recommended. Researchers, faculty, professionals." - CHOICE

"This book does an excellent job of showing how the discipline of theatre studies can provide empowering and transformational experiences for our students. It demonstrates why the performing arts are an essential component of an undergraduate education regardless of the student's intended major. The theatre, just like any discipline, can be explored and experienced through the high-impact pedagogy of undergraduate research." - Council on Undergraduate Research

"The book addresses the importance to all students of creativity and collaborative problem-solving skills that are an essential part of theatre pedagogy and has the potential to convince university and education policy decision makers of the importance of including theatre studies as an essential part of a liberal arts education. By utilizing powerful case studies to show how theatre is and can be used to develop innovative, creative thinking in students, Kindelan promotes theatre as an important part of interdisciplinary learning communities involved in community outreach." - Karen Berman, Chair, Georgia College & State University, USA, Fellow, College of Fellows of the American Theatre, and former president, Association for Theatre in Higher Education

"Higher education today seems at a cross-roads. At ever higher prices, we are as an industry often accused of delivering less of what the world needs in terms of trained young minds who can write, think critically, and are mature in their approach to the world. Here in this book, we have one of the components of the solution. It comes from an usual source, the Theater Department, but not from an unusual person. To know Professor Kindelan over many years, as I have at Northeastern University, is to know the power and depth of her thinking. It is all here. To my colleagues all over the world, but especially in America, I say simply, 'Read this book.'" - James R. Stellar, Provost, Queens College, City University of New York, USA

"Readers of the literature on revamping higher education through curricular innovation will find this to be an engaging book that ties together the compelling need for literacy, broadly defined, and practical experience. The arts are not usually considered the jumping off point much less the destination of these discussions. In this volume, both prospects become decided possibilities for new courses of study and consequent action. Whether you agree with all of the points made or not, you will certainly come away having been challenged to think in new ways." - Charles Middleton, President, Roosevelt University, USA

"In Nancy Kindelan's theatre classes, I learned a lot about acting technique, script analysis, and directing. I also really came to understand theatre as a situated practice - situated among the other disciplines I studied as a liberal arts student - and situated in a political and social world. So when she writes about training theatre artists and civically engaged citizens, she is speaking from worlds of experience. As a senior faculty-administrator at a university, I deeply appreciate the humanity of Professor Kindelan's work; she conceives of the undergraduate experience as humane, engaged, creative, and connected - all concepts that resonate with me as an educator and a parent. Being intentional in our aims, in our curricula, in our structures at colleges and universities, is imperative in the twenty-first century, and Nancy Kindelan's book is a terrific contributor to a much-needed conversation to those ends." - Kal Alston, Professor, Cultural Foundations of Education, and Senior Vice President of Human Capital Development, Syracuse University, USA