Top 10 Benefits of Theatre for Students that Go Beyond the Stage

As a mom to four children, I am constantly in search of opportunities to enrich their lives and help them grow into well-rounded individuals. The world of theatre has proven to be an invaluable avenue, bringing about profound transformations in my children that resonate far beyond the stage. In addition, as both the Executive Director of a performing arts studio and a holder of a Masters in Education, I can attest to the myriad of additional advantages that theatre imparts to students in the cultivation of vital life skills.

In this blog post, I’d like to share what I consider to be the top 10 benefits of theatre for students. We’ll explore how involvement in theatre can positively impact students, enhancing their peer relations, creative thinking, self-confidence, cooperation, oral communication skills, self-image, leadership abilities, sense of community, academic performance, and self-esteem. All of these skills lend themselves to so much more in life and go way beyond the four walls of a theatre space!

1) Improves Peer Relations: Theatre is a remarkable catalyst for enhancing peer relationships among students. It creates an environment where individuals must work together to bring a shared vision to life, providing opportunities for students to collaborate and develop strong interpersonal relationships. Whether it’s rehearsing for a production, constructing sets, or even just participating in theater-related classroom activities, the dynamics of teamwork come into play and help foster a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect. These interactions can lead to enduring friendships and a more positive peer-to-peer experience. When students feel a sense of belonging and friendship within their theatrical community, they often carry that positivity into other aspects of their academic and social lives. These interactions not only lead to more positive school experiences but also to a greater understanding of diversity, empathy, and inclusivity.

2) Enhances Creative Thinking: Theatre is an exceptional tool for cultivating creative thinking, where students engage in activities such as improvisation, script analysis, and character development that encourage them to transcend conventional boundaries. Improvisation sharpens quick thinking, adaptability, and a readiness to embrace the unexpected, while script analysis fosters a profound, critical, and imaginative perspective. Character development requires empathy and a deep understanding of human behavior, enabling students to explore the intricacies of the human condition. This nurturing of creative thinking extends beyond the stage, enabling students to approach academic challenges with innovative solutions and new perspectives. Whether they’re tackling a complex math problem, writing an essay, or navigating the complexities of interpersonal relationships, the creative thinking nurtured through theatre equips them with the tools to tackle these challenges with confidence and inventiveness.

3) Boosts Self-Confidence: Stepping onto the stage, memorizing lines, and performing before an audience can be a daunting endeavor for students. However, these moments of trepidation and bravery work wonders in enhancing their self-confidence and self-esteem. The sense of achievement they acquire from overcoming their fears equips them to confront future challenges with tenacity. This newfound confidence is not confined to the stage but resonates throughout other facets of students’ lives. Once they’ve conquered the fear of public performance, other situations appear less intimidating. Whether it involves delivering class presentations, addressing a public audience, or navigating academic and personal obstacles, students who’ve nurtured their self-confidence through theatre are better prepared to face these scenarios with resilience and composure. This boost in self-confidence evolves into a priceless life skill that empowers them to seize opportunities, pursue their passions, and handle adversity with grace and resilience, ensuring a brighter and more assured future.

4) Encourages Cooperation and Collaboration: One of the most profound lessons that theatre imparts to students is the importance of cooperation and collaboration. Whether students are acting, directing, contributing to set design, or managing the production, each role is inherently indispensable. This realization that the success of a production hinges on the collective contributions fosters a profound sense of interdependence and accountability. Students learn to rely on their peers and recognize that their own endeavors are pivotal to the collective goal. This emphasis on teamwork is a fundamental element of theatre, and it leaves an enduring impact on students, extending far beyond the stage. These teamwork skills hold the potential to reshape how students approach group projects in the classroom, their involvement in sports teams, and their interactions in everyday life. Those who have experienced the synergy of theatrical collaboration are poised to excel in team-based academic assignments, comprehending the value of embracing diverse perspectives, working toward a shared objective, and harnessing the strengths of each team member.

5) Develops Oral Communication Skills: One of the most significant benefits of theatre is the development of exceptional oral communication skills, which serve as a cornerstone for success in both personal and professional life. Students refine their speech through careful articulation, enunciation, and effective projection, ensuring their words resonate clearly with their audience. Theatre also fosters the capacity to convey emotions, as actors must create deep emotional connections with their characters and effectively transmit these sentiments to viewers. This process not only elevates their performances but also refines their empathetic and intuitive communication abilities, enabling them to keenly perceive and respond to the emotions of others while expressing their own with authenticity. These skills then transfer to real-world situations as students emerge from their theatrical experiences as poised, confident, and compassionate communicators, well-prepared to excel in public speaking, job interviews, and all facets of their personal and professional lives.

6) Fosters a Healthy Self-Image: Theatre is a remarkable platform for students to embark on a journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and the nurturing of a healthy self-image in ways that few other activities allow. The act of embracing different roles, characters, and perspectives provides a unique mirror through which they can better understand and accept their own identities, ultimately fostering a positive and robust self-image. Embodying diverse roles is not merely an exercise in acting; it cultivates empathy and self-discovery. It challenges students to delve into their own beliefs, values, and emotions and to develop a deeper understanding of their unique identities which make them better equipped to navigate the complexities of everyday life. They develop greater self-confidence and self-acceptance which fosters resilience in the face of societal expectations and peer influences. It empowers them to face life’s challenges with confidence, knowing that they are resilient and authentic individuals.

7) Cultivates Leadership Skills: The world of theatre serves as a rich training ground for cultivating leadership skills in students. Whether they assume roles like director, stage manager, or lead actor, theatre offers them a platform to refine their leadership capabilities, nurturing qualities that hold immense value in both their academic and future professional pursuits. They sharpen decision-making, team management, effective communication, adaptability, problem-solving, inspiration, motivation, and conflict-resolution skills. They become adept at analyzing situations, weighing options, and making decisions aligned with the production’s overarching vision. By managing a diverse team of actors, technicians, and creatives, they acquire the art of team management. They become skilled communicators, adept at conveying their vision, offering constructive feedback, and ensuring cohesion within the production. They learn how to maintain composure, think on their feet, and innovate solutions, while also instilling the ability to resolve conflicts constructively and foster a positive working environment. These skills provide a robust foundation for academic success and future professional achievements, empowering them to emerge as effective leaders across diverse fields.

8) Nurtures a Sense of Community: Theatre productions bring together students from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, uniting them to collaborate on a shared artistic vision, cultivating a sense of belonging and community that transcends the stage, nurturing social responsibility and empathy. Theatre celebrates diversity and fosters the understanding that it is a strength, extending to a broader worldview, promoting tolerance and inclusivity in their interactions with people from all walks of life. The collaborative ethos within theatre cultivates a strong community spirit, where each individual’s contributions are embraced and respected. This community becomes a source of emotional support, where successes are celebrated and support is offered during challenges, nurturing social responsibility as students recognize their actions and dedication affect the overall success of the production and the well-being of their fellow community members. The empathy, understanding, camaraderie, and social responsibility cultivated within the theatre community leave an enduring impact on students, encouraging them to become more compassionate, inclusive, and socially responsible individuals. These values and experiences travel with them, enhancing their sense of community and deepening their awareness of their roles in society, ultimately shaping them into more compassionate and empathetic contributors to their broader communities.

9) Improves Academic Performance: Participation in the arts, particularly in theatre, is widely acknowledged as a powerful catalyst for elevating academic performance at all educational levels. This connection between the arts and scholastic achievement is not serendipitous but deeply ingrained in the multifaceted benefits of theatre for students. Theatre education helps develop and refine critical thinking. From dissecting scripts to memorizing lines and embodying characters, students learn to approach intricate narratives and concepts with a discerning eye, enhancing their ability to engage with academic subjects by scrutinizing and evaluating information, forging connections between ideas, and expressing themselves with depth and clarity. Theatre instills discipline, punctuality, and cooperative values that extend into academic endeavors, instilling a robust work ethic. The art of problem-solving is another pivotal skill honed within the theatrical realm, where actors and production teams navigate a spectrum of challenges, fostering the capacity to confront issues with ingenuity and resilience. These proficiencies effortlessly transfer to their academic lives. When confronted with complex assignments or unfamiliar concepts, theatre-trained students embrace challenges as avenues for innovation and persistence. As students immerse themselves in the world of theatre, they become equipped with cognitive and interpersonal skills that will not only serve them well in their educational journey but also resonate throughout their broader experiences.

10) Builds Self-Esteem: Participation in theatre is an exceptional avenue for nurturing self-esteem in students, offering a unique blend of self-discovery, personal growth, and emotional resilience. Within the theatrical world, students are encouraged to explore and celebrate their individual talents and abilities, whether they are on stage, working behind the scenes on technical aspects, participating in theatrical classes, or contributing to the overarching success of a production. Theatre encourages vulnerability and tenacity, compelling students to confront their limitations collaboratively, fostering a balanced perspective on strengths and weaknesses that cultivates humility. Students learn the value of making mistakes as invaluable learning experiences and recognize that growth often springs from acknowledging and addressing their limitations. As students engage with the world of theatre, they develop a well-rounded self-esteem that will enhance their lives and empower them in countless aspects.

These top 10 benefits of theatre for students merely scratch the surface, as participation in this art form offers a wealth of personal and academic advantages for our children. It enriches peer relationships, sparks their creative thinking, nurtures self-image, fosters collaborative spirit, improves communication skills, boosts self-confidence, cultivates leadership abilities, and instills a profound sense of community. All of these advantages ultimately contribute to improved academic performance and the development of healthy self-esteem. So, whether your child is destined for a spotlight career or not, consider enrolling them in a theatre program to unlock the myriad of benefits it offers. Theatre is a profound tool for personal growth and the cultivation of lifelong skills that will benefit students’ lives in every facet.

If you reside in the Seattle/Snoqualmie area and seek opportunities to enrich your child’s life while fostering essential life skills, I invite you to explore the diverse class offerings  at Big Star Studios. I speak from personal experience as I have seen my own children transform with music and theatre education that taught life skills that have extended far beyond the theatres they’ve performed in.

Our exceptionally skilled instructors  hold the belief that the benefits of theatre for students extends far beyond the pursuit of the spotlight. Our mission is to guide students in nurturing these invaluable life skills. With a broad spectrum of classes encompassing theatre, singing, dancing, music, and more, we are dedicated to cultivating a generation of confident, empathetic, and reflective young individuals through the transformative power of the performing arts.

Corey Schwarz
Executive Director, Big Star Performing Arts Studio