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How to start a theater program

Six steps to bringing drama to your child’s school.

By GreatSchools Staff

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Dramatic findings

In the era of high stakes testing on academic subjects and dwindling budgets, hatchet-wielding finance warriors may regard theater programs as a good first line of attack. But for anyone who has ever watched theater's ability to teach core intellectual skills such as public speaking, textual analysis and collaboration, killing a drama department is an educational tragedy in the making.

"Drama and theater teach skills that are hugely important for kids," says Lisa Barker, founder of Flying TreeHouse Children's Repertory Theatre Company, a Stanford University-based program that offers workshops and performances in local schools. "They learn to listen attentively, make confident choices, and use their body, mind, and voice to convey ideas."

Though many theatre programs across the nation are hanging in the balance, there’s still hope to write your own happy ending. Follow these six steps to starting a drama program at your child’s school.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

10/31/2011:
"Why must we support too many children and eliminate programs? It is NOT a right to receive an American education. It IS a right to receive a decent education if you are American. We CANNOT do BOTH. Sorry, I'm not ashamed to say it!!!!! We all had ARTS in school when we were growing up! It wasn't an issue!!!! "
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