It is Showcase Week for DRT spring acting classes on the lovely stage at EK Powe Elementary School. The Tuesday acting class, ages 9-12, kicked-off our Showcase Week with great energy. Every student actor gave fully to creating a funny and smart performance of the play they helped to invent. It was exciting to watch each actor realize a character he or she had created only eight-weeks ago. The audience laughed in all the right places!

After the performance, the cast and audience mingled happily for our celebration, munching Strawberry Shortcake, pretzels and watermelon. Sipping lemonade. Reliving favorite moments in the show. 

As I wiped whipped cream from my fingers with a napkin, a parent said something like this to me, “Every time our daughter finishes one of these classes her reading skills absolutely leap up at school.”

That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to find the words to express about the power of arts in education. Of course at EK Powe and other A+ (arts in education focused) schools, this power is already being unleashed.

The arts, and in our case especially the performing arts, are not just beneficial but necessary for both social and brain development. As Jane Healey noted in her seminal text (“Endangered Minds, Why Our Children Can’t Think”) without constant practice of the oral language (talking, listening, being heard, hearing, imagining, expressing, identifying) the part of our brain that makes connections between different pieces of information – i.e. relationships – simply does not develop.

 With the active, consistent, age-appropriate practice of oral language through storytelling and theatre at DRT, a child develops necessary learning-strengths more quickly and more solidly. And they have the greatest fun in the world doing it.

 DRT acting classes for 2015-2016 (INCLUDING THE OFFICIAL START OF HAMLET PROJECT DURHAM CLASSES) will be open for registration on July 1, 2015. Mark you calendars now, and plan to grow, learn and have a great time with DRT.

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