Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Laura Wood, Ph.D., LMHC, LCAT, RDT-BCT


Language in and of the theatre, with its palate of variegated writing styles and playwrights from throughout time, has the potential to be harnessed, focused, and systematized for use as a therapeutic tool within drama therapy – the field’s artistic medium. Drama therapy could benefit from having a specific medium germane to its artform which has the potential to provide practitioners with a common resource and means of communication, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning, as well as align the field with other creative arts therapies. Language encompasses all forms of human communication – speaking, writing, signing, gesturing, expressing facially – and voice and speech training are crucial components of holistic training for actors. This thesis positions language as the primary medium of the theatre by examining multiple and disputed theories of theatre origins as well as interrelated theories of the theatre as an entity in order to distinguish drama as an evolutionary means of human communication. Furthermore, it probes the basic clinical foundations of speech-language pathology, which possesses a wealth of research and theory already supporting language assessment and treatment, in addition to basic biology and neuroanatomy surrounding speech, speech production, and development in order to ground the argument in pre-existing medical and clinical knowledge. Herein, I propose future directions and lay the groundwork for continued research and structured theory development.

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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