June 5, 2015 at 3:30pm

Theatre Education Research

Early in his theatre career, Millikin University alumnus Joshua Streeter '06 discovered he wanted to become an artist who teaches. Currently a candidate for a Master of Fine Arts in Drama & Theatre for Youth and Communities at the University of Texas at Austin, Streeter is conducting research on how drama pedagogy can improve a learning process, and how education pedagogy can enhance a theatre-making process.
 
Streeter's research efforts in theatre education were recently recognized on a national scale as he was named the 2015 Winifred Ward Scholar. The scholarship is awarded annually by the Winifred Ward Memorial Fund, Inc., to one scholar in the country. The scholarship rewards a graduate-level scholar of demonstrated intellectual and artistic ability in drama and theatre education.
 
"I am a drama practitioner, and to receive an award named after the woman who established the field of drama education in America means a lot to me," said Streeter. "I discovered early in my theatre career that I was interested in how students make meaning in the classroom, and how educators can scaffold a learning process for students."
 
Streeter began his journey at Millikin in 2002, where he was a teaching assistant to Lori Bales, associate professor of theatre and dance, for several acting classes. An honors student while at Millikin, Streeter developed his James Millikin Scholar (JMS) project around the topic of arts integration. Lori Bales was his advisor throughout the course of the project.
 
Streeter's work resulted in a resource for secondary language arts educators with lesson plans using drama to explore language arts standards in their classrooms.
 
"Josh is incredibly self-motivated and driven," said Bales. "He makes connections and builds bridges between theory and practice. He demonstrates excellence in artistry because he understands that artistic practice requires continual growth, as well as exploration of new paths of inquiry."
 
In reference to his JMS project, Streeter says, "The project allowed me the opportunity to dig into curriculum design in secondary education. The project served as a bridge into the field of theatre education."
 
As a result of his work, Streeter earned a nomination for the James Millikin Scholar Outstanding Project of the Year Award.
 
After Millikin, Streeter continued to act and focused on directing, as well as building community outreach programs. He earned an MA in theatre education from Emerson College in 2007 and his post-baccalaureate certification in elementary education from Mansfield University in 2009. He became an active member of American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) and is currently a theatre writer for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS).
 
"I love musical theatre. It has always been a style of theatre I am drawn most to," said Streeter. "Some of my current research is in the study of musical theatre."
 
When asked about what he hopes to accomplish with his research, Streeter said, "My work focuses on pedagogy '€“ how and why we teach what we teach. For this reason, I hope to create resources and materials for classroom teachers and theatre practitioners that consider new ways of making meaning through an art-making process."
 
Streeter says he will use the Winifred Ward Scholarship for funding research trips and attending conferences related to his career field and research interests.
 
"By working in the separate fields of education and theatre I am able to make connections between the two in order to strengthen my pedagogy," said Streeter. "My thesis will explore the Broadway musical as a social and cultural construct for youth identity, and investigate the Broadway Junior Series as a performance model for young adults."
 
The Winifred Ward Scholarship was created in memory of Winifred Ward, a pioneer of children's theatre and creative drama in the United States. The award will be presented to Streeter at the American Alliance for Theatre and Education 2015 Conference, held Aug. 5-9 in Milwaukee, Wis.