Why theatre education?
Theatre teaches 21st century skills

“Theatre allows you to feel things with the heart. I love theatre because it has the power to tell important stories, to move an audience, to connect people, and to make change.”

Sophia Willard-Van Sistine, high school Thespian

An essential component of a well-rounded education, theatre teaches critical 21st century life skills — collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.

The Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF) and its parent organization, the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), believe that every child in America deserves access to theatre in their school because theatre can directly and positively impact a student’s academic performance and career preparedness.

Theatre is not a hobby for the privileged few.

Middle school students perform during a 2016 JumpStart Theatre production at Dater High School in Cincinnati, OH.

Middle school students perform during a 2016 JumpStart Theatre production at Dater High School in Cincinnati, OH.

Many at-risk students, who stand to benefit the most from theatre education, have little to no access to theatre education. While there are nearly 26,000 K-12 school-based theatre programs throughout the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Education:

  • In 2008, African-American and Hispanic students had less than half the access to arts education as white students.
  • Only 28 percent of high schools in high poverty areas offer theatre instruction.
  • Only 4 percent of public elementary schools offer students opportunities to engage in theatre.

Every child in America deserves access to theatre and all it has to offer in their school.

In the spotlight: JumpStart Theatre participants from Finneytown Middle School in Cincinnati, OH share their confidence and creativity with the audience.

In the spotlight: JumpStart Theatre participants from Finneytown Middle School in Cincinnati, OH share their confidence and creativity with the audience.

“I think there's a perception that the arts are secondary to core subjects like reading and math. But what the research would suggest is that by participating in theatre, students learn creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.”

— Julie Cohen Theobald, president, Educational Theatre Foundation

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