Drama Teacher and Therapist

Drama teachers instruct individuals and groups in the techniques and principles of acting. Drama students are evaluated and a course of study is then compiled and adapted to meet individual needs and abilities.

Drama therapists perform controlled sessions where theatre and drama-based activities are used to observe and explore the behaviour, attitudes and emotions of individuals experiencing physical, psychological, emotional or mental health problems.

Instruction may include diction, enunciation, voice development and accents as well as movement, acting styles and character development. Drama teachers may produce and direct plays for school and public performances and this will include the supervision of make-up, costumes, scenery and lighting.

Drama teachers in schools may also be involved in other activities such as sport and fund-raising. They work in a wide variety of work settings. At schools and colleges, they work indoors in offices, classrooms, auditoriums, studios and other areas where plays are performed. Some drama teachers may have private pupils and teach in their own or their pupils’ homes. Drama educators may specialise as drama coaches.

Employers of dramatherapists include the social services departments, residential homes, prisons, young offender units, schools, disability units, voluntary organisations and charities. Therapists commonly work as private practitioners or on a self-employed basis. Their work is with adults, young people and children who suffer from depression, anxiety, physical/psychiatric/neurological disorders, learning difficulties, dementia, autism, behavioural problems or emotional problems. Typical responsibilities of the job include assessing and monitoring clients' needs, planning and providing appropriate treatment, liaising with and taking referrals from other professionals including doctors, psychologists and other therapists.  They need to maintain confidential records and case notes, help clients understand and address inner conflicts through drama processes such as role-play, storytelling, improvisation and script work.  They need to enable clients to learn new skills and build confidence making use of props, equipment and materials.  Other tasks include writing reports, attending short courses and workshops to keep skills up-to-date.

Personal Requirements

  • enjoy working with people
  • strong interest in drama
  • creative and open to new ideas
  • able to communicate clearly in speech and writing
  • patient, thorough, honest and responsible
  • acting and stagecraft experience
  • emotionally stable and mature
  • good health and stamina

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Degree: BA (Dramatic Art) - RU, US, UP, UCT, UKZN, UFS, Wits
All South African universities offer training for teachers. As these drama courses may differ from one institution to another, you should consult the yearbook of the educational institution of your choice.

Dramatherapists need BA / BSc in performing arts, psychology or a psychological health-related subject.

Diploma: N.Dip: various - DUT, TUT


  • government departments
  • private schools
  • high schools
  • schools for art, ballet, drama and music
  • prisons
  • disability units
  • self-employment, with own studios

Further Information

  • Schools for Drama, Ballet, Art and Music
  • Government Education Departments
  • Universities and universities of technology
  • Councils for the Performing Arts
  • Heads of Personnel Services at Radio & TV Broadcasting Stations

Getting Started

  • speak to the drama teacher in your school
  • speak to a dramatherapist
  • get involved with the theatre groups in your school or your community

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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