1. Community


Photo Credit: flickerdart

A sense of community envelops theatre classes and extra curricular activities. Bonding with the cast and crew of a production is important. From the first read through of a play to the very last performance, the cast and crew should form a special bond that creates a theatre family. This is extended to the classroom and beyond. When you spend time with a group of you peers working on class project or a show you grow a bond that is unique to theatre. Since theater is a preforming art, you need to work with others to put together the finished product; no one can do theatre alone. [1] One of the biggest things a theatre community can do for student is teach tolerance and good mental health. “Through arts and education, engage and inspire individuals and communities to make healthy choices.” [2] Though theatre students learn that not to bully, to resist peer pressure, to get up and get moving, to express there problems in a healthy and productive way, gives them an outlet to come together and work as a community, gives student and parents a way to connect over issues that are normally hard to breach for parents on their own, And teaches them fun and new ways to teach their peers these lesson instead of just talking. [3] Not only all of this but it is helping give out technology saturated generation a way to truly experience things that they other wise would never have the opportunity to. “When I grew up, kids were experience-rich and information-poor. Today, kids are experience-poor and information-rich. They’re aware of these issues, but we’re afraid of them talking about them because we’re afraid of the conversation.” [4]

In this video you can explore the life of a Theatre major and see first hand the community that surrounds you in theatre every day.


[1] Home.” – EdTA. N.p., 2015. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.

[2] Stevens, Nancy H., Stan Foote, and Philip Wu. “Educational Theatre Program: Promoting Health.” The Permanente Journal. The Permanente Journal, 2008. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.

[3]&[4]Stevens, Nancy H., Stan Foote, and Philip Wu. “Educational Theatre Program: Promoting Health.” The Permanente Journal. The Permanente Journal, 2008. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.


2. Team Work


Photo Credit: Xtract187

As it was so eloquently put in High School Musical, We’re all in this together.

There is very little you can do in theatre all by yourself. Theatre can teach you the very fundamentals of teamwork. The entire cast and crew must be able to work together despite any conflicts among people within the cast. The students cannot let personal beliefs get in the way of a production. The cast comes together though the rehearsal process to create a team, there is always a production team supporting the actors. One thing that teachers should instill in their students that the off stage crew are just as important as the actors on stage. Working though issues and have problem solving as a group bring the sense of team work further then simply group work the classroom. It is even more important when you have others working with you to keep to deadlines, this is something that theatre teaches the students involved. [1]

This as everything else with theatre is extended to the theater classroom. “it takes a big ego and a lot of self-confidence to get up on stage. Sometimes (if not frequently) those personality traits turn into narcissism and an exaggerated sense of self-importance. But some actors (George Clooney comes to mind) make an effort to acknowledge that the show won’t go on without everyone’s help. Whether you are working the lights, taking tickets, or painting the set, your success is important to the success of the show (or project).”[2] Group project make up a lot of the curriculum through out the year. The students learn in the classroom how to work closely with a group of peers whom they may or may not like or have similar beliefs. This is an invaluable experience especially in today’s world. The students of this generation have a tendency to be over sensitive, and theatre can give them the benefit of being exposed to ideas and beliefs that challenge and are different from their own. Everyone is different and everyone has different talents, theatre can give all students the plethora of skills such as recognizing when teamwork is necessary and having the leadership skills to put the team to work.

[1] Stevens, Nancy H., Stan Foote, and Philip Wu. “Educational Theatre Program:    Promoting Health.” The Permanente Journal. The Permanente Journal, 2008.   Web. 15 Feb. 2016.

[2] Kalish, Douglas. “Everything I Needed to Know About Teamwork, I Learned in High School Theatre.” Everything I Needed to Know About Teamwork, I Learned in High School Theatre. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Feb. 2016

3. Time Management


Theatre education is time consuming, on a secondary education level and on a collegiate level. Artist have a reputation in today’s society that they can be lazy, but more times then not when theater student are put under a time crunch instead of crumbling they excel. Actors and crewmembers have to be on time for rehearsal regardless of the work they have to do outside of rehearsal time. The director and stage manager are not going to baby them and constantly remind them of the time they need to be at the theatre, even as students. They need to know this information once it is given to them. If the director or stage manager or production manager has a schedule, it is then important for the actors and the crew to inform the director and stage manager of any scheduling conflicts and to know how to handle time to memorize any lines or cues that need refining.

One department being behind can set an entire production off its time schedule. The stage manager and director also have to know time management in order to schedule rehearsals, work calls and tech week. When you add to this the fact that these directors, stage managers, designers, crewmembers and actors are all also students who have full class loads or are in high school all day their time management skills grow as they production progresses. These students have to balance their time to ensure they do not fall behind in their classes or let the production get off schedule.

When you look specifically at high school theatre is one of the best tools to teach time management and responsibility to these young students. In the last few years the stress our school systems have put on students seem to only increase. Our society almost demands that a young person have a college degree for any entry level job, so as this change has happened the pressure on high school students to succeed has multiplied. As this pressure increases on students so does stress and that is why time management is such an important skill to have in this da and age. I think the time management benefits that theatre can give America’s young students is best explained by Emily Badgett a high school student from North Carolina. “My work ethic and time management skills have come from theater. A typical day for me is seven hours of school, four hours of rehearsal, and three hours of homework, which equates to strenuous 14-hour days. Strong time management skills helped me “keep swimming” throughout high school. Not only have I learned to manage myself, but others too. During my freshman year, a director cast me as stage manager for the spring musical. Managing a cast of your peers can be difficult. We spend a majority of our free time together rehearsing and studying lines. I learned how to separate professional theatre relationships and personal friendships. My management skills help me to address conflicts that arise from these complicated relationships. In the future, these skills will be valuable in the work environment as well.” [1] She wrote this in her school blog titled On the Stage and Behind the Scenes: Lessons Learned from Theatre. Reading her words it is easy to see that theater can benefit students by putting the right kind of stress on them.

[1] Badgett, Emily. “On the Stage and Behind the Scenes: Lessons Learned from Theatre.” Web log post. Public Schools of North Carolina. State Board of            Education, 14 Dec. 2015. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.

4. Self-Expression


An educator may not see theatre as a way to teach self-expression since people play characters that are not anything resembling themselves but theater is truly one of the purest forms of self-expression. To portray the characters on stage you have to look within you. However, the basic definition of acting is “reacting realistically under fictional circumstances.” A person learns how to react to circumstances in theatre by using their own reactions, but it goes far beyond that. Every designer puts a piece of themselves of their style in to the show. If you love light be an electrician, do you enjoy fashion? Costumes are for you! The list is endless. Directors envision this show and make it come to fruition by working with the actors. Everyone involved with a show will bring a part of himself or herself into it, no matter the job they are doing. Theatre in school allows creative students the break in the day where they can be themselves. Many creative students can feel stifled in the traditional classroom setting. Having the time in the day here they can let their self-expression out and fill the void of creativity they feel will enhance there perforce in the traditional classroom. “Opportunities to participate in both improvisational and formal theatre offer students diverse opportunities for self-expression. These creative experiences must be provided so that high school students will develop the ability to communicate through the art form. Communication raises self-expression in theatre to the level of an art” [1]

Earlier I this paper it was pointed out that our students are under more stress in this day and age then ever before, giving students a platform and place to express themselves can truly reduce stress and in suit reduce mental health problems among adolescence. The benefits that self-expression has on students is endless but to just name a few; it leads to happier students, it gives them the opportunity to encourage and help other students to come out of their shells, it releases tension that students can build up due to stress, self discovery.[2] Finally what can be the most beneficial lesson given to students through the opportunity to express themselves is connecting with their peers in a personal way, something that is missing from their technology filled generation. At the end of an article on the benefits self-expression can give you this was written “You can use your talents to form a bond with others that share your interests. This is why you should not be afraid of expressing yourself regularly. It will not hurt to let your opinions be known or to let your talents manifest themselves in the future. All you had to do is be true to yourself whenever you express your thoughts and feelings and you will never go wrong. Doing this may also end up improving not only your mental health but your physical health as well.”[3] It cannot be denied that improved mental health is needed among out young people. They spend a majority of their time at school and in the schools after school programs, educators have a responsibility to give their students all that they can, and this includes time to be themselves and express all that they are.

[1] Muñoz, Luis. “Theatre in High School Education.” — Theatre — University Interscholastic League (UIL), n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.

[2] Marina. “6 Benefits Of Self Expression For Your Psyche.” Web log post.         AELIDA. N.p., 13 Mar. 2014. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.


[3] Marina. “6 Benefits Of Self Expression For Your Psyche.” Web log post.         AELIDA. N.p., 13 Mar. 2014. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.


5. Writing


Photo Credit: charleshogan54

Writing is crucial in the theatre classroom. To learn theatre you have to take an active role in the classroom to really learn. This involves writing, writing plays, reviews of shows and yes, even papers. A common practice for theatre classes is to give extra credit for students seeing theatre outside the school, and write a review of their experience in live theatre. Even if a student never writes a story or a play, theatre requires writing in order to analyze plays. Analyzing a play is an important part of learning about a play. No matter what role you are playing or working in the production it requires you to analyze the play and do the corresponding paper work. With out writing there would be no theatre, no plays, no reviews or critiques. If you cannot critique and review of theatre then the art will never grow, neither will students. While students may come the theatre classroom full of talent and training they will be stuck where they are if they lack the ability to write about theater.

There have been multiple book in fact written to help students write solely about theatre. Such as “How to Write About Theatre” written by Mark Fisher, this book dedicated to teaching a range of different people how to writing in theatre in many different forms. “Today, more people than ever are writing about theatre, but whether you’re blogging, tweeting or writing an academic essay, your challenges as a critic remain the same: how to capture a performance in words, how to express your opinions and how to keep the reader entertained.”[1]

There are so many platforms to write about theatre it is the responsibility of the teacher to bring these into the classroom. That is one thing that the flexible curriculum of theatre allows teachers to do; bring new and creative ways of teaching and learning to an other wise would be straight forward lesson. Giving student the opportunity to express writing in new and interesting ways can light a fire within them giving them a love of it for the rest of their lives. English classes are where students learn to write but given the opportunity and the tools theatre classes can be where they learn to love writing.

Here is Stephen Sondheim, one of the giants of musical theatre talking about his writing process.


[1] Fisher, Mark. How to Write about Theatre. New York: Bloomsbury, n.d. Print.

6. Real life Communication


In a way technology has done a disservice to our current generation of students. Having the advancements that they have and all the advantages of this technological age comes disadvantages too. This generation grew up behind computers this had created a generation that has problems with real social interactions. Simply talking to a peer has become something that can create anxiety and giving a presentation in class seems like the end of the world. While these have always been obstacles in life with all generations the mixture of technology and coddling that this generation has received has turned what once was a simple nuisance in life to a recognizable psychiatric problem. Giving students exposure in the preforming arts can help alleviate the anxiety that comes with real social interaction.

Actors on top of their job if communicating the show to the audience also have to communicate clearly with other actors and the director. It goes beyond their vocal communication and extends to body language as well on and off stage. Directors have to communicate clearly with actors and the tech crew. Playwrights have to communicate clearly both on and off paper. Crew heads have to talk to their crews and communicate with the stage manager in a way that is beneficial to the production. Analyzing a play can be straightforward with details, but it usually takes creative thinking because a playwright has reasons behind the actions of the characters, but these are not put down in the play. Actors and readers of play have to create the scenario in their minds to find reasons for the actions and words. Actors have to create these scenarios and also incorporate the director’s vision with them. This allows students to take the skills they learned and apply it to life in ways that are very beneficial. They will learn how to communicate in leadership positions that can help them get a job in the future. The critical thinking skills will allow students to have the ability to problem solve and then communicate to a team the solution.

The benefits that theatre gives students go far beyond the classroom. One thing that has stayed true for many jobs in almost any field is that you have t have people skills. More so you have to have interview skills to get the job in the first place. Why would theatre help students gain these skills? Understanding how to work in a stress filled subject such as theatre will give students important skills that they can apply to a multitude of corporate situations. This is something that I think most curriculums completely over look, preparing our students for the real world jobs they will have.

Tom Vander Well wrote defending his theatre degree that he was told to study what he loves not necessarily what he will work in.[1] Now having a corporate job Well talks about how his degree in theatre and past experience in theatre through high school prepared him for his work. Many of the lessons that students learn through theater can be easily translated to the world of corporate work. It is this within the realm of what a teacher can give their students. If the students cannot succeed outside or beyond the classroom with the lessons they are taught, then what is the purpose to those lessons?

In theatre one of the most under valued lessons we can share is improvisation. Now while it may only come in a panic as someone skips a whole page of dialogue or a student is left on stage alone with our their scene partner who have fallen asleep back stage. It is one of the most valuable lessons students can take away form the theatre classroom. “Dropped lines, missed entrances, or malfunctioning props require you to improvise while maintaining your cool. Theatre taught me how to focus, think quickly and make do while giving the impression that you’ve got it all under control. It’s served me well when clients, airlines, coworkers, or technology wreak unexpected havoc at the worst possible moment.”[2]

It is bound to happen in any profession where quite a lot will depend on a conversation or presentation going just right. Of course as life goes those are the moments when anything that can go wrong will. Having the skills to think calmly under that kind of pressure is exactly what improvisation gives you. From personal experience our high school theatre teacher had us play a lot of improve games when the lesson for the day had not taken the full class time. At the time we being high schoolers enjoyed the time to goof off. My option again changed when I got to college and started studying education and different learning styles. I was appalled that class time was wasted in that way. Then again it changed as I have started interviewing for jobs and taking more leadership opportunities, I am grateful to that teacher. My skills in improve have given me the confidence to go into meetings and interviews ready to answer questions that I hadn’t prepared for. It has made me feel ready to continue my profession as a teacher knowing that I will be able to handle any situation thrown at me.

[1] Well, Tom Vander. “10 Ways Being A Theatre Major Prepared Me For Success.” Wayfarer Journal. Theatre Journal, 16 Jan. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.

[2] Well, Tom Vander. “10 Ways Being A Theatre Major Prepared Me For Success.”           Wayfarer Journal. Theatre Journal, 16 Jan. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.

7. History


Perhaps the easiest subject to incorporate theatre into is history and vise versa. In order to understand theatre, it is important to understand the history of theatre. And by extension the history of the world, theatre is a reflection of society so how can I fully understand what theatre of different times was about with out understanding what was going on in the world at that time. Rather than sitting in a dry history class, theatre history teaches how and why theatre was happening at certain times in history. Though plays from that historical age you can see how the people of that time thought and acted. Plays that are performed from certain eras bring light to what was happening at those times in a way that a history book only dreams it could. Reading about theatre history is essential to understand how the art developed and is developing. Why plays are the way they are today, why Shakespeare’s are still studied. Half the standards of learning for the state of Virginia for the Theatre 2 are based in the history of the art. The only way to truly understand they art is to understand history.

It is just as easy to incorporate theatre into the history classroom. The use of drama has been used over the course of history from the time of Aristotle, who believed that theatre provided people a way to release emotions, right to the beginning of the progressive movement in education, where emphasis was placed upon “doing” rather than memorizing. Integrating drama helps children in various ways. Instead of lecturing on a time period you can give students a simple in class project to act it out to teach the rest of the class about their section. The following quote and citation from an education resource called “A Cross-Curricular Exercise”.

“History is drama. It’s full of character and conflict. Have you ever read a chapter from a history textbook that talked about a peaceful group of people who just went about their lives without struggle or conflict or hunger or war for hundreds of years? I haven’t. Portray historical figures from the time period you’re studying. Assign a different historical figure to each student and stage improvised conversations where they meet one another. How would Henry VIII speak to a butcher? What would a Confederate soldier say if he found out his best friend was fighting for the North? Stage an historical event. Write and perform a short scene based on something you’re studying in history. Write and stage a spoof of that event. Find a piece of theatre that was popular during the time period you’re studying. What do we think of this play now? Why was it popular in its day? What types of people would have been at the play? Royalty? Peasants? Both?”[1] This is a wonderful blog that gives many suggestions on how to integrate different curriculum into theatre classes and vice versa. The suggestions for history are particular helpful to get students involved in history. If you can get students up, moving, and involved they respond better to the lessons. This is something that theatre always can give students but it makes a bigger impact when these tactics are employed in classrooms where students do not normally get the chance to get out of their seats. Most effective for the lessons that hold the most weight that have to be built upon so the base knowledge is important. When these tactics and lessons are engaged in these ways they can have the most impact on a students education.

[1] Mason, Craig. “Teach Any Lesson Through Drama.” The Theatrefolk Blog. DISQUS, 27 Apr. 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.

8. Reading


Reading is essential to the production and the education of theatre. Everybody involved with the play must read the play and learn the meanings of the words in the play. Not only must you read but you have to analyze the play, you have to know the context of the play you are working on. Teaching theatre requires students to read plays and to be able to interpret them. In order to properly study theatre you have to read a vast variety of plays in class.

One type of theatre that has reading in the title is reader’s theatre. It might sound like a stretch but reader’s theatre can be an important part in a student’s education. It can take the students desire to preform and the need they had to practice their oral reading skills. Reader’s Theater, students perform by reading scripts created from grade-level books or stories generally without benefit of costumes and props. The goal is to enhance reading skill and confidence through practice with a purpose. Reader’s Theater gives students a real reason to read aloud. This form of educational theater motivates reluctant readers and provides fluent readers with the opportunity to explore genre and characterization. Use multi-leveled scripts to engage diverse students in improving their comprehension and fluency. This is a wonderful resources for selecting and creating readers theatre scripts.[1] The more confidence a student has reading aloud the more they will read on their own. The end goal is to instill a love of reading into these students through this form of theatre. A love a reading can set the education course for the rest of the student’s life.

[1] “Reader’s Theater.” Administrators inspire a New Generation of Learners.              Benchmark Education, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.

9. Technology


Theatre is in a constant state of evolution when it comes to technology. This gives student the opportunity to be working with equipment, which even if outdated by theatre standards, is far beyond anything they would have the opportunity in other classrooms. Most students now a day students hear technology and think of their phone but theatre is more of a practical application of technology. Lighting and electrical, learning how electricity works is important and can help students later in life. Sounds and the wiring for the speakers is another practical application. Learning to use a sewing machine and how to craft their own clothes. All of these skills fall under technology and none of it can you do stuck behind a computer screen. There is many computer skills that theatre can teach students as well but with the plethora of computer skills in todays society I fell that it is the practical technology skills that are unique to theatre and offer students an advantage.

Though it may be a while till it reaches most educational theatres, digital technology is changing theater. A recent BBC article detailed how it was both welcomes and rejected. It related very well to education in the way that many times the new is rejected in fear that it can dilute the nature and art of the original work. It is promising to read though such an article and see technology that is not extravagant and possible to reach the educational level faster then others.[1] Back in the 1980s as new technologies began to make their mark in theatre we still marvelled at Broadway and West End shows in which sound, lights and even the set was computer-generated to some degree. Computers and other technologies have transformed our every day lives and they have become a crucial part of the way theatre is made, and our theatre-going lives too. How far theatre technology has come! With technology at their fingertips, answers and images can be conjured by theatre practitioners immediately during the rehearsal or devising process, sound can be fed directly into the ears of the audiences at a moment notice. Technology in theatre has come a long way from the days of the Greek amphitheater and looking at the BBC article theatre has a long way to go still.

[1] Shaw, Dougal. “Digital Drama: The Technology Transforming Theatre.” BBC News. N.p., 27 Mar. 27. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.

10. Math?


Yes! Theatre teaches important math skills, often with out the students realizing it. I know you might be thinking that technical theatre is the only way that you use math in the theatre classroom. Even though you might use more math in sound, carpentry, and electrics there are still many aspects of theatre that you use basic math skills. It is true that musical theatre may have more math than non-musical theatre, but math is still involved in non-musical theatre. Stage managers, actors, and directors must be able to time music and cues. They must be able to understand budgets, rehearsal times, fitting sizes, and many more things that require math as a basic skill.

Using theatre as a means to teach mathematical subjects makes class more interesting and enables greater learning for students. Theatrical approaches can be used for other educational subjects too, but as a former student who struggled in trying to understanding mathematical concepts. For many students, studying math concepts for extended periods of time causes numbers to blur together, especially if they are confused. If students are taught in a more entertaining, hands-on way using theatrical methods, they probably would have the mental energy to stay focused, and therefore, certain concepts would not have taken so long for them to grasp the concepts.[1] Laura Cole Suggest many different ways of incorporating theatre into mathematics. lead younger students in “action songs” that focus on numbers and counting, create an environment of imagination and pretend even in daily math activities, theatre games, improvisation, and skits.[2] As it has been with most of the subject theatre can be applied to the principal benefit to the students is the ability to get up and get moving.

[1] Cole, Laura. “Teaching Mathematics in the Classroom through Theatre.” Broadway             Educators. N.p., 27 May 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.

[2] ibid