Date of Award

Summer 8-29-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Jason D. Butler

Second Advisor

Marisol S. Norris

Third Advisor

Sally Bailey


The purpose of this study was to investigate the lived experiences of participants in an inclusive therapeutic theater production. This study was approached through a post-intentional phenomenological lens, informed by critical dis/ability theory. Ten participants with various dis/abilities took part in semi-structured interviews and eight of the ten participated in a focus group. The researcher followed a post-reflexion plan during the data collection and analysis process to bridle her biases and assumptions. Data were analyzed using the phenomenological method of thematic analysis. An art-based research process was undertaken, and a script, using direct quotes from the participant’s interviews and the focus group, was created.

The researcher’s findings centered around six qualitative themes and fifteen subthemes. Themes included Relationship Building in an Inclusive Environment, The Audience, Personal Stories, Personal Growth, Advocacy, and Inclusion. Overall findings indicated that the participants felt a sense of belonging and community, that they explored concepts of empowerment, and that they desired to make a societal impact by telling their personal stories.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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