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Why Children Should Be Encouraged to Do Theater in School

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

The world of theater arts is something I have always held close to my heart, and always will. Theater helped me become who I am today, teaching me life lessons, and will forever be a part of my identity. Because of this, I believe all children, from kindergarten to high school, should be encouraged to participate in theater productions as a part of their education.

My stage education started in dance when I was 6 years old. I quickly fell in love with performing and the way I was able to share a learned art with an audience. I transitioned into performing musical theater around the time I was 10. After that, my after-school days and summer camps where all filled with singing, dancing, and acting.

I feel so lucky that I was given the opportunity to perform in theater shows, and that my family and teachers encouraged it. There are so many reasons as to why it influenced who I am, and I believe almost every child would benefit from learning the life skills performing arts provide.

Working in the arts as a kid you are able to experience working with a variety of people. From other kids your age to those younger and older than you, and also adults. When working on a show or in a theater department, the people around you become your second family. They are the people you spend hours of rehearsals with, learn harmonies and dances with, and the people you gossip to when you didn’t get the role you expected.

As growing young adults, a theater department can provide kids with people who they can relate to, no matter their differences outside of the physical theater. I made all of my best friends through years of summer theater camps and my high school theater department. They are the people that allowed me to be my weird self and loved me for it.

But a second family is not the only thing that can be gained when students are encouraged to do theater; they also can improve their skills and talents, especially when involved in musical theater.

In musicals, performers are expected to sing, dance, and act in each performance (depending on their role). Because of this, each performer should be pretty well rounded in each skill, but often this is not the case.

Personally, I can dance and act, but I have never been the best singer. Through musical theater, I was pushed to enhance my singing technique and learn how to be the best I could be. And I have seen this reversed with so many other performers, where they could sing and act really well, but dancing was not their strong suit. I was able to help these performers learn choreography and dance as if they knew exactly what they were doing. This was extremely rewarding for me because I was able to help others by sharing one of my talents.

However, there are so many more skills to learn from theater besides singing, dancing, and acting. Public speaking is a huge skill to acquire from performing. I know without theater I would never have been able to stand in front of any type of audience and talk.

Technical skills are also valued in the arts. The lights, sets, costumes, and sound don’t just design themselves. Students learn how to work each of these aspects of a show, teaching them patience and discipline as well.

Yet in my opinion, one of the most important reasons why children should be encouraged to do theater in school is because of the amazing memories that are made and the happiness it creates. Looking back at my high school experience, I can say that I loved it because of my theater department. Each show I performed in was an accomplishment and brought me so much joy.

Education is one of the most important parts of a growing child’s life, but there is more to education besides math and English books. Theater can teach every child many valuable lessons while providing a safe place to grow and be their true self. I know performing as a kid and teen created my fondest memories, and I wish that for everyone.

Courtney is a senior at the University of California Davis where she is earning her degree in Communication, with minor in English. Courtney is a member of Alpha Delta Pi and is from Santa Barbara, CA. She is an avid reader, Netflix and Hulu watcher, beauty enthusiast, and is a big foodie!
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