Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Fine Arts (Integrated Arts and Education)

Department or School/College

Creative Pulse Program

Committee Chair

Ann C. Wright

Commitee Members

Hipólito Rafael Chacón, Randy Bolton


Beginner's Mind, Commedia dell'Arte, Theatre


University of Montana


Most students believe that their teachers are experts in all aspects of the field they teach in. In April of 2009 my drama students asked me to teach Commedia dell’Arte during the upcoming school year. I did have a strong knowledge of the subject but I decided to approach the project with a beginner’s mind and take a risk teaching a form of theatre I knew little about. Over the course of the school year, my students and I learned together. We researched the history, movement, and production elements of Commedia dell’Arte. The end result was a Commedia inspired performance where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet collided with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. While studying Commedia dell’Arte the students learned how to take risks, work together, write a show, produce a show, and enjoy the journey to an end result. I discovered that it is not necessary to be an expert in everything I teach. All it takes is a willingness to risk and approach the subject with a mind open to possibilities.



© Copyright 2010 Tara Lynn Sullivan