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Theatre for Youth

Theatre for Youth
Twelve Plays with Mature Themes
Sales restrictions: For sale in the United States, its dependencies, and Canada only
January 1986
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524 pages | 6 x 9 |

Since the beginning of the theatre-for-youth movement in the United States at the turn of the century, the majority of plays written for children have been fairy tales. By the 1960s, however, encouraged by changes in social attitudes toward children, playwrights began to respond to a growing tendency on the parts of both parents and teachers to have children face, rather than avoid, the more difficult truths of existence. Thus children's dramatic literature was opened to new subjects, themes and characters previously considered unsuitable for the young audience.

Theatre for Youth seeks to identify and illustrate this trend by examining twelve plays that deal with mature themes: aging, death and dying, conformity, sexuality, divorce, moral culpability. The plays have been chosen not only for their mature content, but also for their professional integrity, the delicacy with which they handle their subject matter, and their respect for their intended audience.

A foreword by Jed H. Davis, an introduction and summary paragraphs for each play by Jennings and Berghammer, and a lengthy annotated list of suggested plays for further reading or viewing make this volume extremely useful both for directors of children's theatre and for teachers.

  • The Honorable Urashimo Taro (dramatized by Coleman A. Jennings)
  • Courage! (dramatized by Ed Graczyk)
  • The Odyssey (dramatized by Gregory A. Falls and Kurt Beattie)
  • Noodle doodle box (adapted and translated by Anita and Alex Page)
  • The Arkansaw bear (Aurand Harris)
  • The boy who stole the stars (Julian Wiles)
  • The boy who talked to whales (Webster Smalley)
  • My days as a youngling (dramatized by Nancy Niles Sexton, Vaughn McBride, and Martha Harrison Jones)
  • The code breaker (Pauline C. Conley)
  • Broken hearts (dramatized by Gretta Berghammer and Rod Caspers)
  • Doors (Suzan L. Zeder)
  • The Martian chronicles (adapted by Candace M. Sorensen)

Coleman A. Jennings is professor and chairman of the Department of Drama at the University of Texas at Austin. Gretta Berghammer is assistant professor of children's theatre and creative drama at the University of Northern Iowa at Cedar Falls.