14 Reasons Why Kids Should Study Theatre

1. They will learn empathy and identification. Drama opens up new dimensions of emotional experiences. By observing other people’s creative processes and products, it can assist them in accessing emotions, along with understanding different ways of interpreting and understanding information. In drama we express ideas, observations and feelings by making choices about roles and/or characters

2. It will increase their ability to think; creatively, imaginatively and divergently. They will learn how to think outside the box. Drama teaches students how to become critical consumers, rather than just passive viewers. Students are expected to question and critique their own and others’ processes and products.

3. They will develop higher order thinking skills. We can often be limited by our own attitudes and beliefs. Drama requires us to view things from multiple perspectives, inviting us to share control of a narrative between different players. This automatically widens our perspectives, allowing us to synthesize and evaluate information at a much higher level.

4. They will learn how to be creative. “Creativity is an acquired behavior – learnable, teachable, tangible and crucial to human development, they will express their creativity in a variety of ways. In drama there is no right or wrong, creative play is encouraged and mistakes are often happy accidents. “Creative people do things. They make. They assemble. They put together. They make connections where connections were not previously apparent".

5. They will learn how to work in a team effectively. Drama is full of games, or rather complex group dynamics and team building exercises (games sound more fun). Learning how to work collaboratively is a precious and important skill. Drama helps kids learn how to let go of what they want to say and respond to others’ viewpoints or actions in a safe and fun environment.

6. They will become better writers and therefore increase their literacy and numeracy skills, through script writing, performance analysis and creative writing exercises.

7. They will learn how to memorize things (learning lines requires practice, determination and advanced memory skills).

8. They will learn how to give feedback and accept feedback. Drama teaches us how to ask questions that help make sense of learning. The two simple questions; ‘what worked’ and ‘what could be improved next time’ encourage students to offer constructive feedback and think critically and positively about their own and others’ performances. As students, it is sometimes difficult to take criticism of one’s work. In drama students have the chance to give and take feedback in a constructive way, not personal or hurtful. At the same time, their skin needs to toughen. They will get over insecurities. In drama you have a right to be silly. One’s ability to laugh at our mistakes and ourselves is important in a business that can be tough and demanding.

9. They will discover a process known as ‘reflection’. Reflection is not about solving problems, rather it is about noticing what is going on when you have a feeling or experience and suggesting possibilities that enrich our repertoire of understanding and influence our own art-making.

10. They will learn about discipline, routine and structure without having to go to military school. The drama classroom can be like working in a professional theatre at times. For example, if you miss a performance, your absence affects the whole dynamics of the show.

11. They will use technology (such as lights, video and sound) to create their own shows and productions. “Technology can often and does enrich and extend the imagination of students.

12. They will be encouraged to be curious, open, present, inquisitive and funny. They will learn how to rethink, reconsider, replace, refine, redo, reaffirm, reprocess, rewrite and reconceptualize. What better lesson could kids learn in coping with life than the importance of the “re” component?

13. They will begin to understand the creative process. “Choices, alternatives, failures and doubt: The creative person works all of them out”. They will learn to be aware. “People can become more and more creative by simply becoming more conscious of what it is that they do. The creative person sees the ordinary extraordinarily”.

14. They will learn the skills of listening, negotiating and communicating.

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