When the curtain goes up, the audience’s face lights up with glee. In moments, they are drawn into the imaginary world on the stage. There are lights, colors, sounds. The characters on stage are magical, and the children in the audience are completely enthralled in the story that is unfolding before them.
Theater has a unique way of reaching its audience and its performers. Because of the educational and developmental benefits of theater for students, theater is an important aspect of any public school.
Benefits for the audience
In a way nothing else can, theater brings things to life. On stage, the stories and lessons are vivid, so children tend to remember them more than traditional methods. Children are more likely to remember a live performance because it creates a memorable experience and uses repetition.
Furthermore, theater involves more than one of the senses. While most educational experiences only involve reading, listening or writing, theater is an experience that involves seeing, listening, and feeling.
Many theater programs take advantage of theater’s educational benefits by teaching important lessons on the stage. Nonprofit theater companies teach lessons that range from staying off drugs to what to do if you’re being abused.
Theater is an important tool that can be used to educate, inspire and entertain students.
Benefits for participants
The benefits to students who participate in theater are widespread. The primary benefits are clear: the students learn to sing, dance, and perform on stage. But what comes along with theater training translates off stage as well.
The confidence theater teaches enables students to have confidence in other areas of their lives.
Furthermore, participating in a performance is a great time commitment. The time required in auditions, rehearsals and performances requires dedication, prioritizing, responsibility and organization. The high commitment level teaches participants responsibility at a young age.
Additionally, the highs and lows of theater prepares kids for the highs and lows of real life. In theater, sometimes you’re the star of the show and sometimes you have to settle for a backstage role. In life, disappointments come in waves as well. The highs and lows of theater teach kids to keep going when things aren’t going your way.
Theater programs in schools are important, and teach kids things they can’t learn in books. Whether they’re in a simple drama class or they’re putting on a Broadway-worthy performance, every student can benefit from participation in a theater program.