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Joan Lazarus is a teacher, artist, researcher/writer who actively engages young people and their teachers through work in theatre and education. Her practice is collaborative, democratic and based in art-making that generates dialogue about issues of personal and social import. Professor Lazarus has taught at the university and secondary school levels and led drama and community-based programs for adults and children in grades pre-K through high school. She has worked as a teaching artist, professional actor, director and guest faculty for programs throughout the United States.
After receiving her graduate degree from Arizona State University, Professor Lazarus joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she taught and developed statewide youth theatre programs, developed community-based theatre and drama classes, initiated the Drama Institute for teachers and became director of the National Conference of Youth Theatre Directors. While at UW, she was inducted as a lifetime Fellow in their prestigious Teaching Academy. Since joining the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, she has headed the B.F.A. in Theatre Studies (Theatre Education) and continues to teach improvisation, directing and courses in theatre education. Professor Lazarus also directs scripted and original productions and teaches improvisation, devising and theatre education intensives for teachers and teaching artists.
Professor Lazarus has served as president of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education and on numerous national and regional boards, think tanks and advisory committees. She is author of Theatre Arts Discoveries, the five-part series Theatre Arts Adventures and her newly released book, Signs of Change: New Directions in Theatre Education - Revised and Amplified edition published by Intellect.
Professor Lazarus has been honored nationally by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. In addition to Presidential Citations, she received the Creative Drama for Human Awareness Award, the Barbara Salisbury Wills Alliance Award, for her service to the field, and the 2012 Campton Bell Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2014, Professor Lazarus was named one of the "Texas Ten" by The University of Texas at Austin Alumni Association, Texas Exes. This recognition honors the best and most inspiring professors to ever teach at the univeristy.
Areas of Expertise: Theatre Education; Directing/teaching Young Performers; Theatre Teacher Education; Improvisation; Creative Drama/Drama in Education; Best Practices in Theatre Education
Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities / Theatre Pedagogy