For March (Theatre in Our Schools month), we asked our very own NJ Jr. Thespian State Board to share their thoughts on why theatre in New Jersey middle schools is important, and why theatre must continue to stay in schools.
"Theatre in the middle provides a creative outlet, a home away from home, and a place of acceptance for all; it speaks to and enriches the whole student: academically, physically, and socially."
-Holli Van Albanese: Chartering Advisor
"Theatre in middle school is the perfect place to meet new people, empathize with others, and learn what it feels like to work consistently towards a final project. It's also an excellent, safe space to try new ideas, learn to critique and accept critique, and even the value of falling and getting back up again. Theatre makes resilient, versatile and open minded humans- it's a crucial subject to offer to pre-teens and teens!"
-Joan Schubin: Workshop Co-Organizer
"Theatre is essential because it enables students to create, imagine, celebrate, and learn. Theatre in middle school is a conduit for collaboration and self growth."
-Veda Rouze: Junior Thespian Coordinator
"The practice of theatre in middle school is essential to the culture of the building and its community. Theatre provides a safe haven for students to take risks and explore new areas, without the fear of judgement. Middle-schoolers need theatre, whether on stage or behind the scenes to grow as creative an empowered individuals."
-Mark Accardi: Showcase/IE Coordinator
"It is important for the students to have a creative outlet."
-Michele Greenspan: Workshop Co-Organizer
"I just finished a musical in concert with a 114 - 4th and 5th graders. They were little sponges soaking up every bit of the production. I think one of the things teachers need to remember is in the midst of the tech week insanity 'they hear all and see all and will repeat all to the parents' and its not just the bad things but the good too! They are listening and learning even when you think they aren't!"
-Caitlin Gioe: Social Media Coordinator
"Middle school theatre programs allow students to continue their exploration of playacting and the art of 'make believe'. As young children, this comes naturally, but all too soon is replaced by more socially accepted means of expression. My wish is that my theatre students continue to explore magical worlds and larger than life characters and remain 'young at heart' for life!"
-Lillianne P. Torrente: Sponsorship Coordinator
2018 NJ Junior Thespian State Board