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Drama in Education: The Impact of Theatre on Student Success

A group of thespians at rehearsals

Post sponsored by On The Stage.

Ensuring schools have drama education is paramount to well-rounded student development and heavily impacts a student’s overall academic achievement. However, the importance of the arts in education is often undervalued, and funding for these programs is frequently cut in favor of other subjects. In fact, although 91% of Americans believe the arts are essential for a well-rounded education, only 19 states have incorporated arts as a crucial component within their curriculum. It can be challenging to get support from your school’s administration but we’re here to help by empowering you with undeniable facts to turn skeptics into supporters.

Let’s explore why theatre in schools is so important and how it positively influences student success – in and out of the classroom.

5 Ways Theatre Impacts Student Success

Creation of Community

Theatre in schools creates a sense of community, enhancing students’ sense of belonging and motivation. This heightened engagement boosts attendance, improves test scores, increases participation in after-school activities, and raises graduation rates, demonstrating the significant impact of inclusivity on academic success.

Fostering of Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

Through emotional connections with others, theatre helps students to better understand their fellow man, creating a strong emotional intelligence that can help with peer-to-peer relationships.

Within the theatre, empathy can be gained through the study of people outside a student’s own circles or people in history. This, in turn, makes students more well-rounded, educated citizens, capable of empathizing with those in the past and present.

A group of young students working with their theatre teacher

An Increase in Confidence

When fostered correctly, theatre provides a safe, warm, and supportive space for people of all ages and skill levels to explore their emotions and develop self-confidence. As a theatre leader, you can create this environment by encouraging your actors to take risks, express themselves freely, and connect with others to build self-esteem.

Over time, this confidence will spill over into other areas of a student’s life – from friendships and hobbies to classroom participation.

An Emphasis on Science, Math, and Design

We know what you’re thinking – science and math in theatre? But remember, not all of your students want to be in the spotlight.

It integrates science and math too. Students often participate in set, prop, and costume design, requiring knowledge of materials, and principles of light and sound. Additionally, budgeting for productions enhances their math skills through practical application.

A Look at the Facts

Not only are there numerous benefits of theatre in the world of education, the data is also on our side.

  • Students involved in drama performance scored an average of 65.5 points higher on the verbal component and 35.5 points higher on the math component of the SAT.
  • Students who took courses in drama study or appreciation scored, on average, 55 points higher on verbal and 26 points higher on math than their non-arts classmates.
  • Students with high levels of arts involvement are less likely to drop out of school.
  • Drop-out rates correlate with student levels of involvement in the arts- the more they’re involved, the more likely it will be that they graduate.
  • Arts education experiences reduce the proportion of students in school receiving disciplinary infractions by 3.6 percent.

Looking for more resources to help you build a bright future for your school’s creative program? Download this guide to Advocating for the Arts with everything you need to secure the administrative support your students and your program deserve.



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