Drama and Dance Teacher Education

A program that prepares individuals to teach drama and/or dance programs at various educational levels.

Drama teachers help students to understand and appreciate theater.

Theatre consists of written or devised work performed live in front of an audience, often presented as a narrative with many components.  These performances can take many forms, from elaborately staged shows featuring song and dance sequences to intimate dramas with little embellishment. It takes training, focus, and a deep understanding of stagecraft to create compelling performance pieces; the role of a drama teacher is to impart knowledge of the craft in ways that their pupils will find inspiring and useful for many years.

Generally speaking, drama teachers either focus on the practical aspects of performance or on the context, history, and structure behind dramatic works, though some more comprehensive programs allows students to explore both sides. Introducing students to well-known texts, contemporary performances, and different techniques can broaden their worldview and encourage them to craft thoughtful pieces of their own. Most elementary and secondary schools don't offer drama as a course, so drama teachers tend to teach at the high school level. Teaching artists are commonly employed by arts organizations that run drama programs for youth of various ages, and professors of theatre work with college-aged students. Their work may range from movement-based exercises to staged readings to discussions on dramatic texts and beyond; teaching drama allows for an enormous amount of exploration and discovery for students and teachers alike.

Work as a drama teacher may include...

  • Engaging students in warm-ups and exercise activities
  • Assigning readings or scene studies
  • Facilitating workshops or planning performances
  • Sharing and contextualizing performance art
  • Introducing techniques for writing, acting, directing, and more

Drama teachers of various types are employed by theater companies, schools, arts organizations, community centers, educational nonprofits, or universities. Most teachers are trained to work with students of a certain age, and are able to select appropriate material that their pupils will connect with while also taking into account any standard curriculum that may be in place. Classes and workshops vary in size, skill, and interest, and drama teachers are often tasked with coordinating, producing, overseeing, or directing student performances.

Becoming a drama teacher often requires extensive formal education, as well as experience in both instruction and the area of theater one intends to teach. A Bachelor's degree in theater or education may be sufficient for positions in schools, though these roles tend to require an additional teaching certification conferred by the state. Most instructors at institutions like theater companies and universities possess some sort of graduate degree, such as an MFA in theater performance, dramatic literature, or arts education. It is common for those who teach higher education to have a professional background in the field.

If you're a theater lover who wants to share your knowledge with the next generation, seeking a career as a drama teacher might be a good path to take.

The American Alliance for Theatre & Education works to ensure that every young person experiences quality theater arts provided by proficient, talented artists and educators.

The Association for Theatre in Higher Education serves as an intellectual and artistic center for producing new knowledge about theater and performance related disciplines.

The Educational Theatre Association aims to shape lives through theater education by ensuring students have access to theater taught by qualified educators.

The Drama Teacher Academy is a curriculum-centered membership resource for drama teachers.