When we think of theatre programs, we sometimes end up associating them with snooty rich kids whose parents can afford anything. The truth of the matter is, all kinds of children end up benefitting from participating in theatre programs, which are certainly not just catered to the wealthy. Theatre programs also aren’t merely for the artsy kids who love being at the center of attention. In fact, there are many behind-the-scenes roles that children can fill while putting on a production with a theatre program.
1. Enhanced Self-confidence and Healing
One of the biggest benefits of enrolling your child in a theatre program is that this can help to boost their self-confidence. Children who are shy or who do not think very highly of themselves can interact with positive-thinking and like-minded adults and peers in a theatre program. These interactions can let your child know that this is a safe and fostering community outside of the house for them to be in, where they can simply be themselves and, while acting, other people.
There is also a good amount of evidence that theatre can be healing for those with mental and physical issues. Even children who are hospitalized benefit from participating in theatre and improvisational comedy. Of course, theatre and comedy are not widely recognized as therapy options, so many kids end up missing out on the healing opportunities that these programs provide.
2. Improved Interpersonal Skills
One of the first things your child will likely learn in a theatre program is that communication is essential. “Communication is not limited to the words we use, but it also comes in the form of our actions,” said The Stage Theater School. Theatre can teach children to pay attention to spoken written and words as well as body language. This can be extremely beneficial for children who struggle with socialization. Theatre allows children to explore what it means to be someone else and develop deeper psychosocial comprehensions of themselves and the world around them.
3. Channeling Self-Expression
Of course, theatre is an excellent method for channeling self-expression. Everything in the theatre is subject to creative interpretation, from the words on the page of a script, to the music being played by an orchestra, to a dance routine, to the way lighting is set during a particularly dramatic scene in a play. Your child can learn about what it takes to create a stage production and how it takes a team of creative individuals to do so.
The fact of the matter is that many children do not feel like they get to be as self-expressive as they would like in school or even at home. Theatre provides a constructive outlet for creative energy to flow, and your child can learn from other creative individuals in a theatre program, thereby helping them cultivate their own unique sense of self. Your child can learn that they don’t have to be perfect; they just have to want to have fun.
4. Delving Into History and Literature
Theatre is grounded in both history and literature and is a great alternative to classroom-based history and literature education. While many plays might be better suited for adults, children in theatre programs can delve into history and literature with plays and adaptations geared toward their age groups. Children get to read scripts for all types of plays ranging from Beatrix Potter’s tales to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Even novels like Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist can be adapted for the stage in a way that’s suitable for children. There have even been theatrical adaptations of the sinking of the Titanic put on by and for children.
Whether your child is spunky and outgoing or reserved and unsure of their abilities, theatre programs can help unlock your child’s creative talent. The theatre truly is a place for everyone to enjoy. Even if your child does not develop aspirations to remain in the theatre, they can certainly benefit from the interpersonal and creative skills they can develop from participating in a theatre program. It can’t hurt to speak with your child about possibly enrolling them in a theatre program, and a trip to see a stage production might just inspire them to want to enroll.