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Theatre Arts

Why Theatre? 

The value of theatre in education is greater today perhaps, than in any time since its inclusion in the standard secondary and post secondary curriculum. Where the academic themes of past years have been lodged in the work “specialization,” today the need is for a learner who has the capability to assimilate many realms of seemingly unrelated meaning, evaluate them against a new set of variables, and then, through a process of synthesis, embark on a new course of action which might be totally new and untried. This is a valuable skill in the ever-changing diversity of the United States. Flexibility, broad levels of competency and the ability to strategize learning in a plastic, fluid manner that keeps open all options, is the profile of the successful learner of he 21st Century.

Of all the arts, theatre is most concerned with the study of human personality. The process of acting requires an ability to step outside of oneself and value the perspective of another human being. This single skill is perhaps the most important reason for educational theatre. The ability to get along with those who are different; to understand and resolve conflicts without resort to violence; and to value the individual in an era of mass media: these values are imperative for our social survival.

Theatre is the most collaborative of the arts. It must be created by and for groups of people working together. Theatre classes teach cooperation and teamwork, and especially teamwork without gender discrimination, perhaps better than most team sports.

Theatre also validates individual self-expression, unusual ways of behaving, dressing, and speaking. The high school theatre class is often a place of refuge for creative students who might otherwise be social outcasts. Acting encourages them to understand and express their full range of feelings, not only those that are acceptable in the classroom or in their teen peer groups.

Moreover, the study of playmaking is a social laboratory for high school students, whose prime developmental concern is the formation of personality. It allows them to exercise their curiosity about adult behaviors. They can `'try out" various relationships with no risk of real consequences. They can satisfy their curiosity about how one can behave.

The College Entrance Examination Board, in its document titled “Academic Preparation un the Arts”, notes that “there are certain skills learned in the arts that are learned nowhere else in the curriculum and if our children wish to be well-educated they need those skills.” It was also stated “…that students who took more than four years of music and arts [K-12] scored 34 points higher on the verbal sections of the SAT and 18 points higher on the math sections…”


Living Skills Learned In Theatre

Self Discipline- the ability to work alone independently 

Cooperation- the ability to work congenially within a group - putting the group above oneself 

Responsibility- meeting deadlines on time 

Sense of self-worth, poise and confidence- the realization of one’s importance within the group 

Punctuality- theatre can’t function unless everyone is present 

Effective communication  - one of the fundamentals of theatre activities 

Dedication- commitment to an activity and its completion 

Respect for authority and peers- learning to take direction (orders) and sharing a goal with fellow actors/technicians 

Concentration- the ability to carry through a task without distractions 

Acceptance of disappointment- realization that the effort of the process is more important than the product 

Time management- getting chores and homework completed while participating in additional activities