Nearly every theatrical organization I can think of, for-profit or non-, devotes at least a portion of its efforts to theatrical education. Some more, some less; a few are even good at it. On the other hand, public schools are cutting back (and have for decades now) on arts education with the excuse that it’s “extra stuff”, and not important like math or reading.
One thing that drives me crazy is how one-sided theatrical organizations are in playing into this lie. Maybe it’s because they don’t analyze all of the various hard skills that go into planning, designing, and producing a show because it’s spread out over so many different people.
But that…is a story for another time. This is the story of what theatre teaches in a way fundamentally different from other subjects, including the other arts.
Theatre teaches us empathy.
To see life from someone else’s point of view.
To work as a team.
To plan, to imagine, to dream big and work like a maniac to pull it off.
To work past our own limitations.
To see beyond budgets and raw materials, and transform them into magic.
To confront our fears and insecurities, celebrate our strengths, and reveal more of our true selves.
To speak power and life into despair.
To challenge long-held assumptions.
To celebrate the victories of others, and stop defining ourselves by our defeats.
To listen, even when we know what to say.
To defy traditions that no longer fit, and lovingly wear the ones that do.
To be part of something bigger than oneself.
To know the smallest job is often the most vital.
To find a way to include the disaffected, marginalized, and “different”.
To enjoy my work.
To find a constructive way to experience and deal with destructive emotions and thinking.
To believe in the power of a “Can do!” attitude.
To follow directions I don’t agree with.
To follow directions I think are stupid.
To speak plainly about stupid directions I don’t agree with, and also shut up about what I think so I can give it my best effort.
To value beginnings and endings equally.
To respect the work of others.
To plan for the unexpected.
That the very best dreams take more sweat than any one person can give.
That sharing glory increases its value.
Art and science are not so very far apart after all.