Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Dr. Anthony Schmidt


This study hypothesizes that process drama can enhance the acting skills of undergraduate acting students. Not only is process drama effective in teaching acting skills in general; it is adaptable to teaching those particular skills required by alternative forms such as epic theatre. Process drama is an episodic form of improvisation that is initiated through the given circumstances of a pre-text and develops over an extended period of time. The quantitative pretest-posttest procedure of this study involved dividing a class of beginning acting students into two groups: traditional and experimental. The learning objectives remained the same for both groups; the only variation was in the teaching techniques. Students were pretested by the primary investigator at the beginning of the semester, to establish a base-line in the six assessed skill categories: speech, physicalization, listening, concentration, clarity of action and energy. At the end of the study, two external evaluators participated in the posttest to ensure reliability and validity of the results. The results showed in that in four of the six categories (physicalization, clarity, concentration and listening), skills were improved in the experimental group, to a significantly greater extent than in the traditional group. In one category (energy) the results were about even; had the study group been larger, the experimental group would have shown significantly more improvement. In the sixth category (speech), it was the traditional group that showed more improvement. The results indicate that the potential is great and deserves further exploration and development. Of particular importance is the need for case studies which can assist acting teachers in formulating their own approach to using process drama in the classroom.