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Winifred Mary Ward (1884-1975) She was one of the founders of modern creative drama.

Ward was born in Eldora, Iowa on October 29, 1884. She never married, She completed a Ph.D. in Education at the University of Chicago and immediately went on to teach at Northwestern University in the School of Oratory as a professor of speech. She retired from Northwestern an assistant professor in 1950. Interestingly, at Northwestern University, her most significant work was not in speech but in her pioneering contributions to creative dramatics.

Creative Drama is a classroom teaching method that places a heavy emphasis on self-expression, literature appreciation, and proficiency in spoken English. It is noted for having a complete lack of scripts. In her own words, "instead of memorizing set speeches and acting parts in the way the teacher directs, the children develop plays out of their own thoughts and imaginations and emotions". When Winifred Ward first started working with Creative Drama, she coined the phrase Creative Dramatics. Currently, "Drama in Education" is a more commonly used term for "Creative Drama."

Winifred Ward is often dubbed the mother of creative drama; the “systematic approach to dramatic activity and learning.”5

In 1924, Ward was appointed supervisor of the newly created creative dramatics curricula of the Evanston Public Schools. The next year Ward founded The Children’s Theatre of Evanston, created with “double purpose of providing a worthy service to Evanston and giving the Speech students a laboratory in the study of theater for youth.”3 Later in 1944 she launched the national Children’s Theater Conference, which later became the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE). Ward died in Evanston, Illinois in 1975.

Contents

Ward's philosophy

Rooted in the progressive education movement of the 1930s, Ward sought to educate the whole child, with the notion that, “the child could achieve an understanding of self and society.”5 Ward’s method emphasizes storytelling that grows from nonverbal movement and pantomime, eventually becoming dialogue and characterization and ultimately an integrated drama. Stories told from literature, popular culture, poems, and fairy tales are a hallmark of Ward’s work. Ward emphasized the study of characters as a vital phase for understanding multiple perspectives both in drama and in life. Her workshops often culminated in informal performances for invited guests. Ward believed that creative drama was one way to create productive members of a democratic society. She wrote several books on the subject of speech therapy, as well as poems for children and poems specifically for use in teaching aspects of speech.

Publications

BOOKS

Creative Dramatics, 1930, D. Appleton & Co., N.Y. Theater for Children, 1939, 2nd Ed. 1948, D. Appleton-Century Co., Inc., N.Y. Playmaking With Children, 1947, 2nd E. 1957, Appleton-Century-Crofts, N.Y. Stories to Dramatize, 1952, published by the Children's Theater Press, Cloverlot, Anchorage, Kentucky

PAMPHLETS

"Choice and Direction of Children's Plays," 1928, L.D. Horner, Redfield, Iowa, and "Drama with and for Children," U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Office of Education, 1960.

Sources

1. American Alliance for Theatre and Education [www.AATE.com]

2. Children’s Theatre Resource Webpage By John Snowden-VanValin and Michael Cotter, Northwestern University [1] 3. Northwest University Archives, Evanston IL Winifred Ward Papers [2] 4. Northwestern: For alumni and friends of Northwestern University[3] 5.'A book of rhymes and jingles for children from four to fourteen, for the use of speech therapists and teachers of the spoken word' Black 1954

External links

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