Date of Award

Summer 8-25-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Rebecca Zarate


This capstone thesis explores the broad ways in which the expressive arts therapies can be applied with a community focus. Particular attention is paid to the community-centered goals and the role of performance in social circus as they relate to the current practice and goals of community music therapy. Through an exploration of social circus models, the connection between social circus and therapeutic theater is described, and emerging literature that links the two is analyzed. The field of community music therapy is explored, as are its theoretical similarities to social circus. The current limitations on research of mixed-modality practices which include music are examined. To attempt to fill this gap, research on these distinct but related fields is synthesized to survey the potential ways in which community music therapy and social circus practices could be linked for future exploration. This exploration of the literature lifts out three main themes relevant to social circus and community music therapy practices as potential mechanisms for positive change: trust, safe risk-taking, and social connection. As research continues in this field, further study could benefit from a focus on the roles these constructs play in successful outcomes for community-based circus and music methodologies.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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