First Advisor

McNally, Gillian

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Document Type


Date Created



Benjamin Franklin Theatre Project was created in response to recent violence in schools and new anti-bullying legislation. Schools in Washington State are mandated by legislation to adopt anti-bullying policies. After a policy was made official, it was up to schools, particularly educators to guide students to understand, support and integrate the anti-bullying message into the school community. Theatre education, a constructivist, holistic approach to learning, was a successful way to do this at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School. By producing HONK! Jr. a musical play based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Ugly Duckling”, students were able to explore, role-play and recreate a true account of bullying. Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling”, is based on his life and the bullying he endured as a child. All students deserve a peaceful, safe, positive environment at school. Using theatre education as a bridge for integrated thematic learning provided a safe and pretend environment for students to gain empathy and ultimately understand the dangers of bullying. Producing a musical play was a way to build self-esteem, promote acceptance, and to build strong community bonds. Requiring parent participation and allowing all interested students to join were two key factors that naturally helped detour bullying behavior. This thesis was an exploration of how theatre education, particularly producing a play, can be a tool to take a social message from a policy into the school community value system.

Abstract Format



Bullying; Musical theatre; The Ugly Duckling


210 pages

Local Identifiers


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Copyright is held by author.