Participating in community theater

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 28, 2018

This weekend Picayune On Stage will perform a children’s play to celebrate Christmas in July. Speaking with the director and watching the rehearsal reminded me of the days I did theater in middle and high school. The tap of feet on the stage, the echo of voices in the auditorium and the excited whispering backstage of kids waiting impatiently for their turn to appear brought back memories of my days spent participating in community theater.

Being part of a theater group when I was young wasn’t only fun, it was also educational in many ways.

Before a production I would spend days pacing around my room reading lines aloud, trying to memorize the thick blocks of text. On stage, I learned how to enunciate and project my voice so I could reach the audience without yelling. Plus, being in theater productions gave me a good excuse to get out of the house and socialize.

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Many of the friendships I made then stick with me today.

According to an article by the American Alliance for Theater and Education, students who participate in theater experience a wide-variety of benefits.

Reading comprehension is improved by participation in theater, the article states.

Performing on stage improves a student’s understanding of not only the piece they are performing, but also other works, language and expression, the article states.

Self-esteem can also receive a boost from participating in the performing arts.

“In addition to building social and communication skills overall, involvement in drama courses and performance has been shown to improve a student’s self-esteem as well as their confidence in their academic abilities,” the article states.

Another benefit theater has is on a young person’s academic performance, the article states. Students who participate score higher on SAT tests and have higher attendance rates.

Getting involved in community theater and other performance arts can be a great activity for students and adults alike.