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From One Theatre Kid to Another

Article for Macaroni Kids from Matthews Playhouse

Written by: Sarah Baumgardner, Managing Director

Hey you! Yes, YOU! Have you ever thought about trying out for a musical or play, or even taking theatre classes? Well, from one theatre kid to another, I can tell you to absolutely DO IT! You don’t have to be the best actor, singer or dancer to have a place in performing arts. So if you’re worried about having what it takes, put that out of your mind right now.

Just sign up and go for it. I promise you will learn what you need as you go along.

Need a little more convincing? Not quite ready to sign up? Read on. Or, maybe the grownups in your life have a few questions about whether being in a show or taking classes is worth the time, money and effort. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me why the arts, and theatre especially, are so important for kids, I would have a lot of nickels!

Perhaps you have been wondering the same thing? “Why should I sign up for theatre classes?” “Will I even have fun?” “What kinds of stuff do we learn?” “Do you have to show actual talent to get something out of it?” Please allow me to address a few of these questions, from one theatre kid to another.

First of all, theatre is for EVERYONE! No matter age, stage, or ability, anyone can participate, engage in and especially enjoy watching live performances. Despite the fact that many of us theatre kids have been doing this for a while, many people come to find their place on the stage (or behind the scenes) all throughout life. There is truly never a wrong time to start participating in making live, performance art. (I’m looking at you parents.)

Second, being in theatre classes or participating in a production is loads of fun! You make new friends, learn new skills, play hilarious games that might even make you wet your pants (well, almost) and build confidence in being on stage.

Third, participating in theatre teaches all sorts of life skills. From my personal experience as a kid on stage, it made me:

  • A better and more comfortable public speaker which is something I have been doing professionally (and no, not just as an actor) for nearly 20 years. I have routinely spoken for conferences, large and small groups, religious groups, and made presentations to countless advisory boards. Did I mention every group project I did in high school? Yeah, those kids ALWAYS nominated me to be the main speaker. Why? Because I was confident going into a presentation because I learned early on how to prepare and how to engage my audience.

  • A better communicator. Because of theatre, I learned to pay attention to my speech, diction and even my choice of words. Having to learn lines prepared me to handle appropriate mannerisms and conversation skills in sometimes tricky situations.

  • A team player. I am by no means an athlete, so I learned to work with others on the stage. When you work as a cast, or company, you learn where others may shine and how you can support them. You learn that your contributions to a performance are just as important when you are a backstage crew member as you are in a leading role. One simply doesn’t work without the other.

  • A better mindset. Theatre gave me a place where I felt like I belonged, and that helped me to develop a healthy mindset. I knew that I wasn’t going to get every part that I wanted, but I did know that I would always have a place doing something creative. That mindset has served me well as I went to college, graduate school and now that I have theatre kids of my own.

  • A better level of coordination. Now, I am by no means a graceful person, but I learned to move in sync with others because of being involved in the arts. That has helped me not only physically but also in coordinating projects, keeping my life organized and of course not falling up the stairs too often.

Lastly, participating in theatre and taking classes gave me a sense of my place in the world. Not everyone who takes classes or is in a show is going to make it to Broadway. Facts are just facts after all. BUT, it opened my eyes to different stories, people, opportunities and ideas that I might not have otherwise known existed. My experience in lessons, classes and in productions shaped me into the person that I am today, and I am proud of the adult that I have become.

Do I think YOU should try out for your school show, or take that drama class you always thought about but never went for? YES I DO! Why? Because the theatre, your community, and our society needs you: your unique take on the world, your quirks, your abilities, your humor, your ideas, your presence. Don’t discount what you have to share, and step out there and just try. Sure the spotlight can be intimidating to those who have never felt it’s warmth. Who knows, that warmth might be just what you need to grow!

From one theatre kid to another - I WILL see you on stage SOON!

Parents: Want more facts about the benefits of arts education? Check out this article!

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