Purpose and Goals of the Middle School Program
CREATE MEANING THROUGH NARRATIVE & METAPHOR
Middle School students express an instinctive human need -- to mimic, to project stories, and to create meaning through narrative and metaphor. We see this instinct expressed in children when they act out real or imagined characters and events and have evidence of theater-like rituals in some of the oldest human societies. Theater matters, in essence because we can’t help it -- it’s part of what makes us human.
MODEL PUBLIC DIALOGUE AT THE HEART OF DEMOCRACY
Theater students model a kind of public dialogue that lies at the heart of democratic life, building skills for listening to different views and empathizing with the struggles of fellow humans. Middle School students learn what happens when conflicts don’t get resolved, and what happens when they do, and begin to develop the ability to imagine the outcomes of choices they may make in their own lives.
ENHANCE EDUCATIONAL SKILLS AND LITERACY
Making (and attending) theater contributes to education and literacy -- the condensed dialogue of theater requires sharp attention, quick mental shifts and nimble language skills. Middle School students learn about human motivation and psychology, and studies have shown that theater students do better in school. Participation adds to self-confidence and allows students to socialize in a productive and healthy way.
EVALUATE CONSEQUENCES OF LIFE CHOICES
Watching two characters struggle over an issue or harmonize in resolving a conflict allows Middle School students to relate to similar struggles and successes in their own lives, leading to self-evaluation of their own choices and contemplation of the long-term benefits of wise decisions.