7 Reasons Why Theatre Improv Teaches Leadership Skills

7 Reasons Why Theatre Improv Teaches Leadership Skills
1. THINKING ON YOUR FEET
Whether you are the C.E.O. of a company or you are working your first retail job, knowing how to think on your feet and tackle unforeseen circumstances is an important skill for any leader. As an adult, we have […]

By |June 5th, 2018|Featured|0 Comments

10 Skills Children Learn From The Arts That Help Them Succeed In Life

10 Skills Children Learn From The Arts That Help Them Succeed In Life
1. CREATIVITY
 Now more than ever, employers are looking for creative thinkers who can move their business forward, not just academic achievers who know how to maintain the status quo. Being able to think on your feet, approach tasks […]

By |May 23rd, 2018|Featured|0 Comments

6 TIPS FOR VALIDATING CHILDREN

6 TIPS FOR VALIDATING CHILDREN:
Are High Fives The Key To A Child’s Future Success In Life?
Have you ever seen someone walk out of room standing tall, with a big smile on their face and an air of self-confidence that almost feels infectious? Chances are they just received some sort of […]

By |May 17th, 2018|Featured|0 Comments

Tipping The Validation Scale: How To Create Greater Self-Worth in Children

You’ve read the books and attended the workshops – you know how important it is to validate children. You know that you get what you focus on, so focusing on positives creates more positives while focusing on negatives creates more negatives. So my question for you is… how much are […]

By |May 15th, 2018|Featured|1 Comment

6 Lessons I Learned At Arts Camp

Camp has always been such a powerful experience for me. The friendships, skill development, opportunities to lead and overall feeling of belonging is life-changing for a child (and for the staff as well).

I spent over 17 years of my life working at camps in both Canada and the USA. Ten […]

By |May 3rd, 2018|Featured|0 Comments

From School Shootings To Van Attacks When Will We Learn?

From school shootings to van attacks when will we learn that children learn what they live.

I live in Toronto, Canada and a few days ago we had a very unusual incident occur in our city – a van plowed through a major city sidewalk killing 10 people and injuring 14 […]

By |April 27th, 2018|Featured|0 Comments

THE GAME OF LIFE: 12 Growth Mindset Concepts That Young People Need To Know & Implement

I’d like to start by saying that most of these concepts are not new. I am quite certain you’ve heard many of them before. So why I am giving you information about things you already know? Because I want to emphasize the importance of actually DOING these things in order […]

By |April 20th, 2018|Featured|0 Comments

That Kid: The 5 Year Journey That Changed A Child Forever

On her first day of kindergarten she literally crawled around on hands and knees, meowing like a cat during our music class. She was that kid. The one everyone in the school knew by name by the second week of school. She was 5 – adorable and spunky – and […]

By |July 25th, 2017|Featured, Uncategorized|1 Comment

What Brought You Here? How One Arts Educator Changed A Child

A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with one of my third grade classes about my elementary school music program. They were shocked to hear that music was my least favorite class. My elementary school years were a particularly tough time for public education funding, and arts education […]

By |July 2nd, 2017|Featured|2 Comments

The Vital Skills Developed From The Stage

The art form I’ve spent the majority of my career working in is theatre (Yes I spell it “re” because I am from South Africa and live in Canada). I taught Musical Theatre for 11 years and I ran Arts Summer Camps for 10 years that had a large performing arts component. It has always been something that has been very near and dear to me. There is something magical that happens when a group of young people come together to put together a production. They grow. They explore. They realize new possibilities for themselves and for their future.
I had the great opportunity to connect with Autumn Kersey, The Executive Director & Founder of Treasure Valley Children’s Theater, to explore how her school in Idaho is developing 21st Century Success Skills through experiences on the stage. Read about the great work Autumn and her team are doing…
Lisa’s Question: What inspired you to get into theater?
Autumn’s Answer: I grew up in a small town in southern Idaho. I did not come from a privileged background. My mother was very young when she had me and she raised me, for the most part, as a single parent. There was not a lot of room in our life for extras like new clothes, eating out or theater tickets.
I was in 4th or 5th grade the year my mom won tickets to see a local production of “Snoopy the Musical”. The production was staged in a small church and performed entirely by local youth. The show was produced by a small team of volunteers who founded Junior Musical Playhouse, JuMP Co., just a year earlier.
I vividly remember sitting on the edge of the hard church pew yearning to join the cast, not because I wanted to be a star, but because I wanted to belong. Everyone on stage looked so happy to be there! They were working together to create something magical. I wanted to be part of that magic.
Not long after, I auditioned for a school play and got the lead. I also started participating in programs with JuMP Co. Of course, I developed aspirations of stardom, but more importantly I found a home. I was accepted by other kids who, despite our socio-economic and religious differences, were a lot like me. I was encouraged by adults who were not family members. I was challenged to try new things and supported even when I failed. As a confused teenager, the theater was my vehicle to explore emotion, to face challenging situations in a safe space, and to build confidence.
I believe my youth theater experiences saved me from poverty, unplanned pregnancy, drug addiction and suicide. Research suggests that children from single-parent families are more likely to experience less healthy lives, are more likely to drop out of school, experience an unplanned pregnancy, have trouble keeping jobs, and suffer other psychological and social consequences.
During the time I was discovering theater, my mom briefly married an abusive, alcoholic man. While the relationship was short-lived, the impact had lasting consequences. I truly believe, if it were not for the theater experiences and the theater family that embraced me – the rides to and from rehearsal, the anonymous donors who paid my participation fees when my mother couldn’t, the directors and teachers who spent extra time with me, and the countless friends. . . I would have fallen victim to the statistics without these interventions.
Lisa’s Question: If you had to pick one or two benefits that young people gain from participating in theater what would you say they are? 
Autumn’s Answer: Only one or two? At Treasure Valley Children’s Theater, we like to say that we are changing the world one theater kid at a time. We know – and the research proves – that a theater arts education exposes youth to a variety of important life and leadership skills that will help them be successful in the future. However, it is the opportunity to learn compassion that we embrace as our secret weapon to change the world.
The stories we tell as theater artists, and the people we work with to tell those stories, are incredibly diverse. A student who may come from a privileged background is suddenly faced with telling the story of a character who has lost everything. Or a young, vibrant student may need to research and study the process of aging to portray the role of someone many years their senior. These are just two examples of how theater teaches empathy. To stand in the shoes of diverse characters and to work with and build trust among diverse actors is to open your heart and mind to the differences that make the world an incredibly complicated place to navigate.
We tell our students that the compassion and empathy skills they are gaining as actors will aid them in becoming incredible, powerful leaders in their community.

Lisa’s Question: Do you get feedback from parents about changes they see in their children? If yes, what do they say?

Autumn’s Answer: Yes! All the time. It is what motivates me to get out of bed every day. The knowledge that we are truly changing lives fills my soul! What are they saying? Well one of the most common themes has to do with increasing their child’s confidence level. Parents will often say that not only do they notice the difference but they will describe how it filters into other aspects of their child’s life. They are now excited to do public speaking, take on bigger leadership roles at school, more helpful around the house, better organized – the examples are endless.  It is these kinds of changes that are most meaningful for myself and our instructors to hear because we know that the skills they are learning are transferring into all aspects of their lives. […]

By |March 28th, 2017|Arts Education Interviews, Featured|0 Comments