Winters Friends of the Library is a proud supporter of theater programs for young people. We have supported the Winters Shakespeare Workshop, a summer program for teens, since 1999. This year we are bringing artists-in-residence Voice of the Wood to lead performance workshops with 5th grade classes at Rominger School and to perform for the community at the library.
Drama is a natural partner with libraries, because theater is literature in physical form. Participating in drama can be a life-changing experience for a young person.
Numerous studies have demonstrated a correlation between involvement in drama and academic achievement. Students who participate in drama score higher on standardized tests than their peers who do not experience the arts, show improved reading comprehension, maintain better attendance records, and stay generally more engaged in school than their non-arts counterparts.
Participating in drama helps build a wide range of personal skills that carry over into school, work, and relationships:
- Self-confidence: By performing in front of an audience, young people gain the confidence to trust their own ideas and abilities.
- Imagination: Performing requires envisioning and interpreting familiar material in new ways.
- Empathy: Acting in roles presenting new situations, different time periods, and different cultures promotes compassion and tolerance for others’ feelings and viewpoints.
- Collaboration: Performance draws on the ideas and abilities of all participants and promotes cooperative learning through discussing, sharing, negotiating, rehearsing, and performing.
- Concentration: Performing in a play develops a constant focus of mind, body, and voice.
- Communication skills: Acting involves verbal and nonverbal expression of ideas. It improves voice projection, articulation, and fluency with language.
- Emotional expression: Actors are allowed to express a range of emotions. Sadness, aggression, and anger are released in a safe, controlled environment, reducing antisocial behavior.
- Relaxation: Theatre activities reduce stress by releasing mental, physical, and emotional tension.
- Physical Fitness: Movement in drama improves balance, coordination, flexibility, and control.
Perhaps most importantly, we believe that experiencing and participating in drama—much like reading great literature—adds richness, depth, and beauty to our lives and helps us understand ourselves and others in profound ways. It can open new doors and reveal new worlds.
We are grateful that the support of our members and donors allows WFoL to provide these opportunities to the young people of Winters.
Thanks to Diane Cary for this post. Thanks to Woody Fridae for the WSW photos.