For March a.k.a. Theatre In Our Schools month, we asked our very own Junior State Thespian Officer, Sanjana, to describe why theatre in our schools is important. She urges educator's to keep theatre in our schools because theatre is... essential.
"I practically barrel out the car door into the school, my costume bag bouncing against my side. I careen into the media center, and grin broadly. My friends wave at me, my grin reflected on their faces. Opening night. This is drama. This is theatre.
This is the world I’ve come to appreciate and embrace with all my heart. So, why is it so important to me anyways? Why should it stay in school?"
a little bit of history
"Theatre has long since been a part of culture, since Greek times. It has traveled across the world, picking up ideas, sharing thoughts, and mixing into other cultures since its creation. When we perform, when we become a character, put on a mic, or light up a stage, we are carrying that torch. We carry the generations upon generations of creativity, imagination, and evolution that has brought this art form to our schools. If we don’t continue drama in our schools, we lose that. We lose the magic of history, of imagination, of disappearing into another world. Our minds close, and our hearts are caged. Drama is a place to let it all loose. To become so extra and out there, and a completely different person. It is an avenue for creativity, passion, and life."
encompasses all disciplines
"Theatre is a connection to all the other disciplines. Language, for diction, grammar, speech, and script. Math, for position, timing, accuracy. Science for effects. History, for remembrance, examples, and reboots. Drama encompasses everything, whether it is about what we know or not. Drama can connect through the disciplines. It provides incredible examples of real world applications. It also holds incredible moral lessons. When someone is immersed in a character, they learn lessons from them. Lessons of love, kindness, loyalty, persistence, courage, and more. We learn from theatre as we expand upon it."
making a connection
"Theatre is a way to connect to everyone. More than just the cast and the crew, the thespians connect to the audience as well. The audience sees a story portrayed by characters, but it’s the fact that it is live that reminds them that real people are doing it. When you are watching a TV show, you don’t always remember you’re just watching people in front of a camera. But when you see a live show, you see people mere feet away from you transform. The audience connects to the person behind the mask as well as the character. Also, theatre connects you to the past. You are a reflection of all the thespians before when you are on that stage. You are the torch-bearer, the next relay runner, the next trailblazer in this art. They shine through you as you melt into character.
This is why theatre should still be taught in middle schools. It bridges across so much of what makes humanity special. It carries history while forging into the future. Theatre teaches lessons, brings smiles to faces, and connects people around the world. It transcends boundaries, disregards the rules. I’ve learned so much from it. Some of my favorite things have been “MAKE IT BIGGER!”, and of course, the all time classic, “MORE BLUSH!”. Really, some of my favorite things that I’ve learned are that you are not Sanjana Iyer, or Joe Martinez anymore. You aren’t putting on a mask. You are transforming every bit of yourself to match this new person. You are the character. You aren’t pretending."
theatre is essential
"In conclusion, I beseech every teacher, administrator, principal, and advisor, please keep teaching drama. Carry it on. Let every generation from now until Armageddon know just what makes this art form so special. Theatre in schools is essential. Very few things in the world are black and white, but in this aspect, I will not stand for anything else. Drama and theatre have to be in schools. It creates a better environment, and a bridge across everything we learn. "
Sanjana Iyer, Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School
Junior State Thespian Officer 2018