Theatre educators have an obligation to the theatre arts, but more importantly, they have an obligation to educate their students. All too often, school arts programs are deemed less important than the imperative subjects of reading and mathematics. In actuality, these arts programs add alternative dimensions to student education, cultivating the personality behind the brain. Because of the importance of the arts, theatre educators must pride themselves on their ability to educate, keeping up with educational research as well as studies in theatre and creative dramatics. By tapping educational resources, theatre educators can ensure effective and productive classrooms.
One educational theory, Howard Gardnerís Theory of Multiple Intelligences, is particularly well-suited to the theatre classroom. The theory states that, although student intelligence is typically determined based on verbal and mathematical skills, students may possess various categories of intelligence, which often remain unmeasured. These intelligences include: verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, intrapersonal, interpersonal and, most recently, natural. Because of the various elements encompassed in theatre arts, students with any combination of these intelligences could benefit from the study of theatre.
In this paper, I begin by examining theatre education today, based on Gardnerís framework. By looking at specific practitioners and their methodologies, I determine the trend of theatre education and how it can best utilize the multiple intelligences. From this point, I divide theatre education into two age ranges: elementary and secondary. I propose suggestions for incorporating Gardnerís theory in both instances, citing applicable exercises and games. For the purpose of this thesis, I focus specifically on linguistic, musical,spatial and intrapersonal intelligences. This thesis is constructed to present the benefits of using Gardnerís Theory in the theatre classroom and to guide teachers through its implementation.