A Narrative Exploration of Offering Theatre Arts Education to Low SES Students



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This narrative inquiry attempts to explore the researcher’s passion and connection to theatre arts education, the review of literature that supports the need for the study, her personal struggle to present significant qualitative research in a quantitative world, and a synopsis of what The Fifth Ward Project --- a theatre program in a low socioeconomic (SES) elementary school setting --- meant to those who experienced it. Its primary purpose is to answer the overarching question of what meanings did the participants of The Fifth Ward Project make of their lived experience. By examining previously presented quantitative survey data (which explored the overall academic impact of the project) in combination with new qualitative interview and written materials data, the researcher hopes to extol the merits of theatre arts education (especially for low SES students) while also offering a revelatory look at the reality and obstacles of implementing said education in a low SES setting. Finally, as an emergent researcher and lover of the arts, she also considers the sub-textual question of whether or not the meanings made were enough. This research can be used to add to the advocacy for the inclusion of theatre arts in the school curriculum and a starting point for discussion of what to be aware of when pushing for said implementation. This is a story of hopes and hindrances from the voices of those who shared in the experience of The Fifth Ward Project.



Theatre, Arts advocacy, Arts for all, Arts for low SES students, Benefits of theatre arts