Theatre Education provides invaluable life-enhancing experiences for young people. Education in the arts teaches teamwork, responsibility, collaboration, leadership, empathy, and compassion. We hope, and strive, to provide for the youth involved in this program a heightened confidence, self-discipline, and better communication skills.
Here are some quotes and articles discussing the many benefits of Theatre Education...
Numerous studies have demonstrated a correlation between drama involvement and academic achievement. In addition to having higher standardized test scores than their peers who do not experience the arts, student who participate in drama often experience improved reading comprehension, maintain better attendance records, and stay generally more engaged in school than their non-arts counterparts. Schools with arts-integrated programs, even in low-income areas, report high academic achievement.
Academic gains aren't the only benefits. There are the obvious ones: improved self-confidence, better public speaking skills, but Jones says students show other gains as well, such as the “ability to work with an ensemble in cooperative ventures" and the "ability to work through consensus and differences or obstacles to achieve a goal.” She points out that a play requires students to follow a time line, to use self-discipline, and to accept feedback. Studying theater can be a great starting point for careers such as teaching, law, and politics, not to mention broadcasting and performing. And the ability to speak confidently in front of a group is a boon for any career.
As my friend Bill English of San Francisco's SF Playhouse says, theater is like a gym for empathy. It's where we can go to build up the muscles of compassion, to practice listening and understanding and engaging with people that are not just like ourselves. We practice sitting down, paying attention and learning from other people's actions. We practice caring.
Field trips to live theater enhance literary knowledge, tolerance, and empathy among students, according to a study. The research team found that reading and watching movies of Hamlet and A Christmas Carol could not account for the increase in knowledge experienced by students who attended live performances of the plays. Students who attended live performances of the play also scored higher on the study's tolerance measure than the control group by a moderately large margin and were better able to recognize and appreciate what other people think and feel.
Performing arts programs offer children and youth a benefit they usually do not find in an ordinary classroom, instead of just gaining knowledge about things, they gain knowledge about who they are and what they can do. This helps kids grow into better adults, parents and citizens. It is also important to remember that the arts build cultural bridges, bringing greater understanding and communication in our American society. Studies have also shown that youth who participate in the performing arts form stronger ties with the community and more often, tend to return and/or settle within the community and perform community service as adults.