Why Drama Budgets in High Schools Should be Raised
- OnStage High School Columnist
Everyone has some sort of a safe haven. An escape from the real world. What some people fail to realize is that everyone’s ‘escape’ from constant stresses can be different from another person’s. Take the perspective of a high school student. One student might eagerly assert that video games are his or her outlet. Another might state that sports are. And then there is that one select handful of students who, with a twinkle in their eye which you cannot ignore, say through a passionate tone that theatre is their escape. I, personally, am among that bunch. And I am here to enlighten those who may not realize, the reason we utter the word ‘theatre’ with a certain heartfelt tone of voice. And why everyone else—teachers and parents specifically—should too.
Schools and school authorities should definitely consider keeping the performing arts in schools for all students to have access to a role—not only acting—in some sort of production. Whether it be musicals or plays, or simply drama programs, they’re crucial for social interactions, self-assurance, and simply educative fun.
Students have so much to worry about. We are meant to thrive in our adolescence, however at most, we seem to be putting together the pieces of a the puzzle which is the world. This can prove as challenging when we are burdened with homework, school hallway drama, lack of sleep, and also discovering ourselves for who we are. A creative outlet seems almost vital to those who are under the constant weights of stress. Theatre is a great outlet because not only is it a fun and exciting activity, but it’s also something which allows for you to develop skills which you never knew you had before. Co-operation and self-confidence are just a few among those skills. In fact, studies say that drama improves academic performance, meaning better test scores, better attendance records, and improvement of reading.
Most high-school drama programs—from what I know—which aren’t taking place in art schools are low-funded. For example, cheap sets and costumes, small orchestras and minimal space all tend to take away from the fun of live theatre. One might argue that all of those tiny flaws are what make school theatrical productions so authentic. Yet these little things can turn into bigger things, and finally, school theatre can turn extinct. Should it turn extinct, we all know that we would be missing out on great learning opportunities. Studies show that in 2005, students involved in drama performance outscored the national average SAT score by 35 points on the verbal testing, and 24 points on the math testing. On top of that, 93 percent of Americans believe that the arts are essential to complete education. 79 percent believe that the arts should be a priority in education.
Larger budgets for the arts can help students to learn valuable skills, express their stresses through words or painting sets, and spread the wonderful feeling of ‘home.’ It is important to not shut out this form of art away from those who prosper in it. Everyone—regardless of interests, passions, or identity—should have the opportunity to flourish alongside their peers, no matter the differences in their field of work. The arts are just as important to students as any other subject, and as a student, I find that they should be treated like it.
"American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE)." American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE). N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2016.