Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Theatre Arts


Theater--Production and direction; Experimental theater


The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the theories and works of three directors of "experimental" theatre and to evaluate their contributions. Through this method, a working definition of experimental theatre will be stated as well as an indication of where this fora of theatre seems to be going. The directors chosen for this study are Julian Beck and Judith Malina of the Living Theatre, Paul Sills of Second City and The Story Theatre and Peter Schumann of the Bread and Puppet Theatre. These individuals were chosen because each is representative of the experimental movement and each has stated specific goals and theories relative to theatre. The paper will begin with three chapters, each of which will provide background Information on one of these directors. This background information will cover such things as education, early theatrical experiences, probable influences and a brief history of the production company or companies with which each director is primarily identified. The final chapter contains a comparison of the styles and aims of the three directors. Each representative director is discussed and evaluated on the following criteria: stated theory of theatre, including definition of theatre and the place and purpose of theatre in society selection of material - plays, improvisations, etc., methods of preparing plays for production; attitude toward the audience and the relationship between audience and actors; response hoped for from the audience; and effectiveness as judged by several audience members. From the material mentioned above, various general conclusions were drawn as to what these three directors' works might have in common and what this might indicate about the theatre of the future. The following similarities were found: a movement away from the scripted play and towards improvisation and/or group created works; a movement towards greater involvement of the audience members, including altering the spatial relationships between audience and actors; and a movement toward more self-determination on the part of the actor.


Includes bibliographical references.


139 pages




Northern Illinois University

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