Blog Archives

What Do Students Learn From Arts Education?

In 1997, a longitudinal study was initiated to determine the impact of the arts on the lives of the participants. In this study, more than 25,000 students were evaluated over a course of ten years through high school. Those students with consistent participation in theatre arts consistently showed improved academic performance and significant increases in standardized test scores. In a 2013 article in the Washington Post by Lisa Phillips, the top skills children learn from the arts was discussed. They included the following:

Creativity – lean to approach tasks from different perspectives and to “think outside the box”

Confidence – build the confidence to perform in front of large audiences

Problem Solving – develop skills in reasoning and understanding

Perseverance – learning skills and techniques through practice; developing new skills

Focus – maintaining a balance between listening and contributing; improve concentration

Collaboration – practice working together for a common goal

Dedication – associate hard work and dedication with a sense of accomplishment

Accountability – learn that their actions affect other people; Gain a sense of responsibility

Receiving Constructive Feedback – learn that critique is a valuable experience and contributes to the success of the final piece

An arts educator with over 16 years’ experience, Lisa’s comments were driven by a concern over an obsession with science, math, technology and engineering in our school systems at the risk of losing art education and the skills that come from it. I think she makes a valid point. Our community theaters are more than just an entertainment venue; they offer a tremendous benefit for personal growth. Perhaps you know of someone who has or may benefit from active participation in the theatre. Reach out and get involved!

sommers-diane-2015Diane Sommers

Community Partners Coordinator

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The Impact Of Live Theatre

If you are like me, you have probably enjoyed many live theatre performances over the years. You most likely have your favorites. But have you ever considered the impact of that performance on the actors and members of the stage crew?

Community theatre not only provides the opportunity for more people to experience and be entertained by live theatre, it provides an opportunity to engage more people who perform in those shows. The impact, especially on our youth, can be profound. Many studies have shown that children that participate in live theatre have improved communication skills, are more creative, and have improved problem solving skills. Perhaps you have participated on stage at a community theatre, or someone in your family has.

The Waukesha Civic Theatre is celebrating their 60th season. With seven Mainstage shows and over 140 performances of all kinds on its stage, the Waukesha Civic Theatre impacts the lives of thousands of children in Waukesha County each year. Students at twelve schools benefit through the theatre’s education outreach program. Through a partnership with the nonprofit organization ACAP, the theatre brings the stage to children and adults with disabilities. The Mainstage shows have auditions open to everyone that is interested.

The Theatre provides classroom instruction throughout the year as part of their Academy At Civic Theatre (A.C.T) program. There are countless examples where a shy child with few social interaction skills, blossoms on the stage, demonstrating dramatic improvement in their ability to interact with others and improved performance in school. In a recent YouTube video, students share their experiences and the impact that the Waukesha Civic Theatre has had on their lives.

So the next time you are enjoying a performance at your local cultural center, stop and think about the performers, who they are, and the impact your presence is having on their lives. Support your local community theatre!

sommers-diane-2015Diane Sommers

Community Partners Coordinator