Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

James Thomas


Much has been written about the history of theatre, including its popularity or prohibition in various cultures at various times. The intersection of theatre and Christianity reflects this dialectic throughout history, and much opposition towards theatre has come from Protestant Christians. This study explores where Protestants stand today in regards to theatre.

The purpose of this study was to explore what contemporary Protestants think about theatre, to determine if an anti-theatrical prejudice exists within them, and, if it does, what the causes and outcomes are. The three main research questions were: (1) What are Protestant Christians' attitudes and beliefs about theatre? (2) If Christians are not attending theatre, why not? (3) What is the source of their attitudes and beliefs?

The study employed the qualitative method, grounded theory. Twenty-nine participants--students, church leaders, and theatre practitioners in Southern California--were interviewed over the course of several months. Data was directly gathered from these Protestants about the subject of theatre, along with supporting information drawn from historical and archival research.