Is theatre for every child?

I was told the other day, theatre isn’t for every child and they were absolutely right. Acting on stage may not be the answer to all kids who are shy or don’t feel like they fit in. But, what theatre does do is lets kids explore their imagination and teaches them how to think creatively, and I am not talking about the kids acting up on stage. What about the kids running the lights, designing the sound, writing the scripts, painting/building the scenery, designing and sewing the costumes, applying the makeup, styling the hair, developing the playbill. All of these things take the kids who are engineers, visual artist, graphic designers, authors, gamers, fashion designers, cosmetologist and so on. Theatre is more than just the kids that can sing and dance.

Theatre helps kids think outside the box.  I have a son who has no confidence when it comes to sports and would honestly sit at a computer playing video games all day long if I would let him. By taking his knowledge of computers, he is able to help design and run a lighting board for theatre productions. There is a child who I recently discovered is very introverted when it comes to socializing with other children, yet I recently caught her sketching something in a notebook. I gave her a story concept and within minutes, she had designed a perfect costume for the character I described.

Theatre is unique in that it comprises aspects of many art forms, therefore kids with many different talents can be utilized to make a production happen. I want people to know that yes, theatre can kind of be like the island of  misfit toys in a sense. It is kind of like a melting pot of people from all walks of life, financial status and different backgrounds all coming together for a unified purpose. In this day and time with kids feeling so lost, I think we need to encourage theatre in young people. Everyone has an imagination and they need to be encouraged to use that gift.

 

 

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Your Child Could Be Missing Out!

 

As I spoke to my five, almost six year old, daughter yesterday after school, she proceeded to tell me how her day had gone. It appears, according to her, no one plays with her at recess. When asked why, she explained to me that she simply waits for someone to come up and ask her to play, and when no one does, she gives up and plays alone. Now, as a mother, I feel just terrible and want so badly to make the other children play with her, but as a theatre educator, I see this as a golden opportunity where she could benefit from acting classes or performing. I see my child as a confident, spunky kid who is a go getter, but when away from me, she seems to lack the self confidence and courage to socialize.

I bet if we were to all look at aspects of our children’s lives, we could find areas where to us, our children may seem outgoing and confident, but when put in social situations, they lack the self confidence to put themselves out there.

This is where theatre differs from other extracurricular activities your child may participate in. Theatre allows students to assert themselves and take on leadership roles when they learn to carry a role onstage. When students are given a character they have to create, they are the decision makers and in complete control. Students need to feel they have control over something in their lives.

Theatre allows kids to express themselves and have their voice be heard. In theatre, their opinion matters. Kids desperately want to be valued in this world and being able to express themselves is vitally important.

Children need a safe place to feel like they can be themselves and not be judged. Theatre provides that place for many young people. They can act crazy, show emotions and be themselves and it is ok. In fact, it is encouraged  and nurtured in the world of theatre to make them a stronger actor. 

Theatre provides a place where kids can be mentored by older kids in a positive environment. I remember as a young girl growing up being a member of our local community theatre. My fondest memories are of fellow actors, tutoring me in Algebra and Chemistry. Having the older boys be like big brothers to me and everyone taking good care of me.

That is what kids are missing today. In a digital age, where kids are glued to computers so much, they are missing that connection to be with human beings. Kids just want to be heard, valued and respected. Then their confidence soars. Theatre is the perfect place for kids to find that. Now how does this apply to a kindergartner you ask? I believe with the confidence this 5 year old gains from theatre, she can walk to a playmate, look them straight in the eye, and say “hey, let’s go have some fun together. Let’s pretend something.” Kids deserve to feel confident now as young people, to help them a long when they grow up. Don’t they deserve that?

 

  
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
 

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
 

The 5 most asked questions about the impact of Performing Arts on child development.

 

  1. Will rejection from not getting a part effect my child’s self-esteem?

Initially, your child may seem sad, but surprisingly kids are amazing resilient. Often times, the parents take it worse than the child. If you don’t make a big deal of it, many times the child will just move on. Learning how to take the criticism and apply it to life is a life skill that a child can use in every aspect of growing up and existing in society. If your child knows where their weaknesses lied in their audition, you as their parent can help them improve  before the next audition.

     2. How will being involved in Musical Theatre help my child as an adult?

Theatre can improve self-confidence, develop better public speaking skills, provide a sense of team building and teach kids to work through challenges to come up with a unified solution. All of these qualities are needed to exist in a modern day work environment.

According to Gail Jones, a theatre educator with over 40 years of experience, “a play requires students to follow a timeline, use self-discipline and accept feedback.”  Theatre skills can launch careers in law, politics, teaching and ministry just to name a few.

      3. Does being involved in Theatre help my child academically?

Absolutely. Memorization of lines makes memorization of information for school much easier. The self-confidence gained from being in front of an audience, will greatly improve their public speaking skills. A UCLA study has found students involved in the arts have higher academic performances and better standardized test scores.

    4. What social skills can my child develop from being involved in the arts?

Children can improve self-confidence, develop better public speaking skills, theatre provides a sense of team building and teaches kids to work through challenges to come up with a unified solution.

     5. Are there any guarantees?

The only guarantee is that your child will learn valuable life lessons, make wonderful new friends, and have memories that will last a lifetime.