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Dr. Thalia R. Goldstein on Why Theater Matters

Dr. Thalia R. Goldstein has dedicated her life’s work to studying how, scientifically, theater, pretend play, and imagination affect child and adolescent development. She says that the theater classroom is akin to a laboratory for life with rituals and opportunities for growth.

Hear what Dr. Goldstein tells the TheatreFam podcast about her cutting-edge research and why theater matters.

The opening/closing music of the TheatreFam podcast, Our Song, was composed exclusively for The Broadway Education Alliance and Camp Broadway by J. OCONOR NAVARRO.

About the Guest

Thalia R. Goldstein is a former professional actress, dancer, and lifelong theatre nerd. She is currently an associate professor and director of the Applied Developmental Psychology program in the Department of Psychology at George Mason University, where she directs the Play, Learning, Arts and Youth Lab (PLAYlab), and codirects the National Endowment for the Arts Lab, the Mason Arts Research Center (MasonARC). Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, Arts Connection, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Psychological Foundation among others. With her students and colleagues, she has published more than 70 papers on the effects of pretend play, imagination, theatre, and other art forms (dance, marching arts, video games, literature) on child and adolescent development. She earned her BA at Cornell University, her MA and PhD at Boston College, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University. Since 2017 she has been the coeditor of the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, the Division 10 journal for the American Psychological Association, where she has also won several awards and was recently named fellow. She lives outside of Washington, DC with her family.

Dr. Goldstein’s book, Why Theatre Education Matters: Understanding Its Cognitive, Social, and Emotional Benefits, is scheduled to be released in July and is available for pre-order now on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.