As drama educators, we obviously believe that the arts should be a crucial part of a student’s academic experience. Do a quick web search of “why study the arts?” and hundreds of articles in agreement with this will pop up! An arts education is extremely important and beneficial for students, as they will learn not only theatrical techniques but useful life skills as well. Here are just a few of the ways that studying drama can benefit students outside of the drama classroom.
It’s a creative outlet – and a challenging one at that.
Students need to learn a variety of means of expressing themselves and their thoughts and views on the world. What better way to learn this than through theatre? It challenges students to open their minds, to use their bodies and brains in different and exciting ways, to explore different worlds through scripts and scores and characters, and to tell a story in a variety of ways – through words, song, mime, tableau, puppetry, playwriting…the list goes on and on.
They’re learning a huge host of skills.
Many students who participate in drama class do not go on to become professional actors, designers, or technicians. But there are so many other important skills that they’re learning that can be used in their everyday lives, no matter what career they decide to pursue in the future. For example:
- Reading and reciting from scripts increases their verbal and literacy skills.
- Working with a director, musical director, and/or choreographer increases their listening skills.
- Experiencing a variety of crew roles – such as stage manager, technical operator, or usher – provides practical job skills training that can be used in behind-the-scenes theatre careers or in the business side of theatre, or transferred to another type of career (being an organized stage manager can certainly transfer into being organized in a variety of jobs).
- When students are practicing for an audition, they’re learning research and preparation skills, and learning how to take steps towards achieving a goal.
- When they perform in front of their peers or an audience, they’re learning self-confidence and bravery.
- When they are cast in a plum role, they’re learning how to accept their achievements with grace.
- When they don’t get the part they want, they’re learning to deal with disappointment.
- When they’re practicing their lines and rehearsing their choreography at home, they’re learning about the importance of giving their best effort and not letting their teammates down.
- When they’re learning dance and stage combat moves, they’re practicing gross and fine motor skills, hand/eye coordination and muscle memory.
- When they’re cast in a show with students they don’t know or don’t like, they’re learning how to deal with others and cultivate new relationships.
- When they realize that they have a project due in another class the day before off-book day, they’re learning about time management.
- When something goes wrong during a performance, they’re learning how to deal with the unexpected, how to stay cool in an emergency, how to roll with the punches and keep the show going on!
Taking a drama class or being involved in a school production creates incredibly strong bonds with others over a relatively short period of time. When students are working together with a group of like-minded people to create a cohesive piece of work, bonding is kind of inevitable! Some people don’t understand the long hours spent in the auditorium or in the drama classroom (“I can’t, I have rehearsal” is a common phrase uttered by drama students) and the many hours of work required outside of rehearsal. But a group of students who are all obsessed with the latest Broadway offering and randomly break into song and dance in the middle of the hallway? They get it, and they get each other.Click here for a free printable tip sheet.
Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. She blogs at www.kerryhishon.com.
Want to find out more about our newest plays, resources and giveaways? Get on our list!