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Stage and Classroom: The Interplay of Theater and Education



Introduction

The transformative power of theater education is an often-underestimated tool in the academic world. However, it holds a unique potential to revolutionize classrooms, enhance student outcomes, and create a lasting impact on young minds. On The Brighter Side of Education podcast, I was privileged to delve deep into this subject with seasoned theater education maestro, Brad Wages from Venice Theater's Education and Community Engagement Department.


Brad's journey in the world of theater is an inspiration. Born and raised in a small town with limited access to the arts, Brad found his passion for theater early on and went on to carve a successful career in the field. Transitioning from a performer to an educator, Brad found joy in giving back, empowering students to find their voice and express themselves through theater.


Benefits

Theater education goes beyond the obvious benefits of fostering creativity and performance skills. It encourages active learning, enhances information retention, and helps students develop empathy and social skills. Brad highlighted the importance of theater games, not as mere time fillers, but as effective tools for teaching group dynamics, active listening, and problem-solving.


Moreover, the academic advantages of theater education are undeniable. Studies have shown higher graduation rates and test scores among students involved in theater arts. By teaching discipline, motivation, and the ability to think outside the box, theater education equips students with skills that are invaluable in the real world.


One of the most powerful impacts of theater education is its ability to transform students' lives. Brad shared heartwarming stories of students who found their confidence and voice through theater. These transformations highlight the transformative power of theater education. It's not just about acting; it's about growing, discovering potential, and creating meaningful connections that extend beyond the classroom walls.


Theatre Games

Theater games for groups encompass engaging role-play activities that foster the development of crucial abilities such as concentration, active listening, teamwork, and on-the-spot improvisation. Examples of these games include Family Portrait and Communication Chain, and their primary goal is to energize participants while imparting valuable skills and boosting their self-assurance.


These creative exercises bear a resemblance to improvisational games and are versatile, serving as effective icebreakers for groups or as powerful tools for enhancing team dynamics in large gatherings. For a helpful boost, an improv prompt generator can be employed in these activities.


Explore the following categories of theater games:

  1. Theatre Games for Small Groups

  2. Theatre Games for Large Groups

  3. Enjoyable Drama Games

  4. Musical Theatre Games

  5. High-Energy Drama Games

  6. Team-Building Drama Games"

Two Theatre Games to try:


Pass The Clap


Pass The Clap is an exciting theater game that involves passing applause in a circle.


To play this game, form a circle with the participants. The leader begins the applause, and everyone takes turns clapping in a clockwise direction until the leader gives the final clap.


You can also play this game with variations. For example, participants can start with slow claps and gradually increase the speed in successive rounds.


Emotion Game

The Emotion Game is a group theater activity that's great for warming up and getting people to feel comfortable that helps improve improvisation skills and emotional awareness in participants. Here's how to play:

  1. Pick an order for participants.

  2. Choose one person to be the caller.

  3. The caller will call out emotions like 'excited' or 'moody,' and the first person in line will act out that emotion for a few seconds.

  4. Then, other participants take turns acting out the emotions called by the caller.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the power of theater in education is a topic that deserves more attention. As educators and parents advocate for quality education, it's up to us to support and promote theater education initiatives. By supporting arts initiatives and sharing success stories that highlight the good in education. So, bring your child to the theatre or sign them up for a summer theatre camp! Everyone can play a part in this mission to bring about positive change in education.


To hear more from Brad Wages and the benefits to theatre in education, listen to





References

15 Theater Games for Drama Groups (Large or Small!). (August 7, 2023). TeamBuilding.com. Retrieved from https://teambuilding.com/blog/theater-games


Arts Ministries. (2018, September 25). Pass the Clap [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/Egee4Atnysk


Child's Play in Action. (n.d.). Pass the Emotion [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LXLamPwwrk


The Brighter Side of Education Podcast. (November 2, 2023). Stage and Classroom: The Interplay of Theater and Education with Actor Brad Wages (Season 2, Episode 27) [Audio podcast episode]. Hosted by Dr. Lisa R. Hassler. Retrieved from https://www.buzzsprout.com/2048018/13803886



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