ARCHIVE - State of the Field: Gai Jones (8-5-2015)


Gai Jones

Professional Affiliations


How do you define your role in the field of Theatre for Youth?

I am a professional Theatre educator, who believes in working with youth who perform in original and scripted material for other youth and families; adults who perform in devised and published scripts for youth; and inter-generational productions featuring ages 6-80 who perform for community theatre audiences. I teach Theatre workshops for youth. I also perform in a senior readers theatre group who performs weekly for elementary school classes/groups.

I founded CA YOUTH IN THEATRE (CYIT) a day of theatre advocacy in the state capital for theatre youth of all ages,  19 years past.

I have written 3 books for educational Theatre and 1 books for community theatre volunteers

Number of Years in the Field


What is inspiring about the field of Theatre for Youth at this moment in time?

The collecting of qualitative data which verifies what we do. The soft skills are so important; the research and pedagogical trends are what will help us achieve equity and access with educational art and music.

What is the best Theatre for Youth experience you’ve had in the past 12 months?

The production of the play “Ramona Quimby” in which “real”  family members in the community portrayed Mother, Father, Beezus and R.Q. Another was a production of “A Year with Frog and Toad” in which a “real” grandpa portrayed Large and Terrible Fog, his daughter played Toad; and her daughter-his granddaughter played Snail.

Where is field of Theatre for Youth going next?

I would hope that Theatre for Youth works alongside the Theatre associations to help get the new V&PA standards adopted by every state legislature and district.

What are three words that describe of embody the field of Theatre for Youth?

joyful ageless creations

What does our field need to do better or differently?

Keep developing educational Theatre teachers and artists who work alongside the educators to create Theatre. We need a Drama Specialist in each elementary school in  the USA and dedicated Theatre teacher in each middle and high school.

Why do you work in the field of Theatre for Youth?

I believe in creating and learning alongside actors, designers, playwrights, and constructors in projects which further the education of Theatre youth and anyone who believes in the power of Theatre for Youth. I believe in working with college and university Pre-Service Theatre Educators.

I believe in the magic of inter-generational theatre for the participants and audiences and family members of those involved.

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