Percy MacKaye’s Civic Theatre: a Pioneer in Theatre Animation and the Pedagogy of Leisure

Manuel F. Vieites


In the first two decades of the 20th century the career of Percy MacKaye becomes especially relevant. As a brilliant American scholar and playwright, he formulated a plan for the organization of the theatre that aimed at promoting the social, cultural and educational potential of a theatrical praxis based on the active participation of people, linked to community development. In this paper, born of a critical reading of his theoretical work, we show how the educational, cultural and artistic uses of theatrical practice promoting a constructive leisure, have in MacKaye’s essays a precedent on theoretical and practical grounds. His proposals are still relevant considering today’s challenges, among which it stands out the creation of spaces for meeting and interaction where the community may meet, recognize and recreate itself. His essays become even more significant considering old problems such as the «arrangement of the theatres» and the status of theater education, formulated by enlightened thinkers such as Jovellanos or Moratín, which two centuries later still await an appropriate solution. We close the paper with a set of conclusions where specific proposals concerning those old issues are made.

How to reference this article

Vieites, M. F. (2016). El teatro cívico de Percy MacKaye: un pionero en la animación teatral y la pedagogía del ocio. Espacio, Tiempo y Educación, 3(1), 421-442. doi:



progressivism; civic theatre; community theatre; theatre education; cultural democracy; constructive leisure


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