“May is the new December,” a teacher friend recently said to me.
For parents, teachers, coaches, and anyone else who works with kids, May could be the craziest month of the year. Not only are classes winding down but extra-curricular activites are finishing up as well. Awards banquets, honors ceremonies, recitals, concerts, and competitions take over the calendars of moms and dads everywhere.
My daughter’s theater program finished up a few weeks ago with the spring play, Crucible. And last week was the theater awards banquet, which was definitely the most creative and fun banquet I’ve ever been to. No surprise there—it was the theater department after all.
My daughter joined the theater program this year at school when she volunteered to be stage manager for the fall musical, Godspell. If you’ve been around Glimsen for long, you know that my husband and I are long-time theater supporters. We didn’t want to push her into it, though: she had other interests. So we were surprised and glad when she volunteered, and we’ve really enjoyed seeing her grow in new ways this year.
Part of the beauty of theater is the gifts it brings to the audience as well as the cast and crew.
I asked high school theater director, Steve Broyles, to talk a little about those gifts, or benefits, of theater for students. Here’s what Steve said:
"I always remind the students that, whether they want to do theatre ever again, a theatre class can change their life. It is a proven fact that a person’s level of success in whatever field they choose bears a direct relationship to their skill in public communication.
"In theatre we ask students to overcome their stage fright and get on stage. We show them that they communicate with their whole body. We ask them to memorize a script and perform it. We ask them to write a script and perform it on our main stage.
"All of this prepares our students for times when their performance up front will be for much greater stakes.
"In addition, studies are showing now that students who perform in plays develop a much stronger empathetic response to those around them. The power of spending weeks on end walking around in someone else’s skin drives our focus outward in ways we did not expect."
When students in theater take their bows, they leave the stage with more fully-developed gifts and abilities that can help them succeed wherever life takes them next.
Were you involved in the arts as a student? If not, have you seen the arts impact the students in your life? I’d love to hear more and may even quote you in future posts (with your permission, of course). Please leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Photo courtesy of Felix Mooneeram | Unsplash.