The following blog was originally posted by Maritsa Patrinos on the Buzzfeed website and is published here in it’s entirety with only slight editorial modifications.
- Drama improves students’ public speaking skills
The more students are able to speak in front of people, the better they get at it. Volume, enunciation, pitch, inflection — these skills come in handy in life and they can teach students how to recover with grace when they mess up.
- Drama teaches students teamwork
School’s often try to teach this skill with group projects, but it isn’t nearly as effective. In theater, you learn to compromise and collaborate with many different kinds of people, or there’s no show. Theater people know — every individual is valuable, not just the stars.
- Drama makes students more empathetic
Studying a character in-depth over the months it takes to put on a show is a unique experience students don’t usually have the time to explore. When students immerse themselves in a story in theater, however, they walk away with a deeper understanding of people who can be very different.
- Drama helps students become masters of stress management
If students can learn how to put on a great show when seemingly everything goes wrong, they’ll be able to handle any college all-nighter or insane work presentation. They’ll be much more collected because they already know the payoff is worth the stress.
- Drama boosts student confidence levels
The theater environment is unique in that it supports and encourages students to be weird and try new things, even if they make fools of themselves. Learning to shed an ego is a skill few people are willing to commit to in the real world. Students will find more success when they are conditioned to embarrass themselves a little to find it.
- Drama teaches students humility
There often isn’t time for sugarcoating in theater. The spirit of theater is supportive, but students have to learn to deal with honest, critical feedback that they must meet with an open mind. They learn how to have their weaknesses pointed out and work on them without taking it personally.
- Drama helps students learn how to deal with rejection
Students who don’t get the part they want in a play know the feeling of heartbreak. Coincidentally, being an adult is also full of ups and downs (you may not always get that dream job or house). Learning how to bounce back from disappointment and learning how to play a supporting role are extremely valuable lessons for life.
- Drama helps students learn how to meet a deadline
In school there are make-up tests and project extensions, but in theater the show must always go on, whether or not student’s are ready. Being in a play teaches students (forces them, actually) to find creative ways of meeting deadlines and coming up with effective shortcuts in their work.
- Drama improves students’ reading skills
The great thing about theater is that one piece of text can be interpreted in numerous ways. Students will find new ways to approach analysis because they get to act it out instead of just reading it at a desk. Not to mention, there’s nothing like “have this memorized by next week” that will force students to improve their reading skills fast.
- Drama helps students gain a higher appreciation of the written and spoken word
Theater has informed culture all over the world throughout history. Studying it exposes students to many great works of literature and ideas they may not otherwise encounter. Even if students don’t end up pursuing it for the rest of their lives, there are few directions students can take in life that haven’t been influenced by the artform.
- Drama makes students more charismatic
Rehearsing lines and conversational speech (and watching their peers do it) can benefit the way students socialize. But besides just acting, much of working in theater is about communication. So many people need to work together for such a massive project, that students are forced to master those skills in order for it to work.
- Drama improves students’ memorization skills
It’s a lot more than just remembering words and lighting cues. The memorization tricks students teach themselves, and the way they learn to multitask on stage can inform the ways they study, work, and organize their minds later on in life.
- Drama keeps students physically active
For a lot of students who aren’t drawn to the sports scene, it can be hard to find a good outlet for physical activity. But whether it’s dance choreography, building sets, or changing scenery, theater is very physically demanding. The difference is that students are having so much fun, they don’t notice how they’re staying in shape.
- It provides students with adult-like responsibilities
For many students, theater is their first exposure to behaving professionally. They have to make a good impression, show enthusiasm, work hard, compromise, keep their emotions in check, support their peers, and treat their superiors with respect. These are skills students have to master if they want to be taken seriously in their adult lives.