Letters to the Editor

Celebrate theater and all it teaches

Willem Dafoe once said, “Great theatre is about challenging how we think and encouraging us to fantasize about a world we aspire to.”

As a Mississippi arts organization, the Mississippi Theatre Association believes firmly that the arts, especially theater, are a necessary part of life and are especially essential in the educational arena as it challenges both students and teachers in their critical thinking skills and the pursuit of a better world.

Not every student who participates in theater in their K-12 years will pursue it as a career, but they will learn transferable skills that will benefit them in their careers.

First, theater improves students’ reading comprehension and analytical skills. To bring a play to production takes research, analysis, imagination and a lot of hard, disciplined work and dedication.

Second, theater is a collaborative art. Theater teaches students to engage in large groups to communicate with each other and create a finished product. Students spend hours working together in rehearsals, designing and constructing sets, properties, costumes and lighting to create a fictional world that teaches and entertains.

Designers conduct research and use math, set construction teaches carpentry skills, costuming teaches sewing skills, stage managing teaches project management skills, and the list goes on.

Third, theater is a teaching tool. There are plays that celebrate history, teach math skills, reinforce language skills, and all in ways meant to connect with the audience in an entertaining fashion.

Stacy Howell

Ocean Springs