Parent to Parent: Children and the benefits of theater

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on September 10, 2012 at 8:36 AM

Your child doesn't have to be the next Broadway star to benefit from the world of theater.

Shana Bestock, the artistic and education director of the Seattle Public Theater, joined KING 5's Joyce Taylor to talk about why every child should have a little "drama" in their life.

What does a young person gain from participating in theater?

Theater gives kids a safe place to be passionate and a safe place for expression. Theater gives kids ownership and age-appropriate responsibilities. Theater offers a chance to try on new hats. And they can be themselves in the process of becoming themselves, which is a terrifying thing to do.

What do you say to a young person interested in pursuing a career in the arts?

Go for it, but be flexible. Be creative on how you define "career" and "arts" and phrases like "making a living". Every artist carves their own path and finds their own balance in the challenge of fulfilling artistic, personal, and financial goals. Stability and financial independance mean different things to different people. Above all - get a good education. There are plenty of trained artists, but you don't get far without a broad world view, good critical thinking and problem solving skills, and a sense of humor. Cultivate your sense of wonder.

What is your vision for the future of drama in education?

Programs at every level of learning. Equal access to arts education across socio-economic lines. In Seattle, schools partnering with a wide spectrum of the rich diversity of our local arts organizations, giving kids and parents options for artistic learning experiences. Sustainable funding sources so less energy can be spent reinventing the wheel (applying for grants, educating PTAs, etc) and more can be spent on the actual work.

How do parents find a good theater education program for their children?

Experiment with various types of programs. Theaters, classes, and productions come in all shapes and sizes. A less than positive experience at one place does not necessarily mean your child hates drama.

Choose a culture and a community, not just a class. Don't be afraid to choose a program because it works for the whole family. Factors like convenience, price, community, organizational mission, etc are important if you are planning to stick with it.

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