This week on Behind the Curtain we talk with artistic director Amanda Farnsworth about how school and community theatre is good for kids, creating a safe place for them to learn and experience joy and family.
Video Length: 2:07
QUESTION: “Why is Theatre Good for Kids?”
AMANDA: “The first time I saw a theatre production on stage my mind dripped out of my ears and I went home with my mouth open. I had no idea that was a thing. And so I was HOOKED and I started doing theatre from then on. I got involved with theatre at school and I got involved with community theatre and show choir and everything I could do that involved that sort of storytelling. Sometimes school is not the safest place to be as a kid, home sometimes not the safest place to be as a kid—there’s a lot of things that kids do, that (they) are a part of where you have to learn to have sort of toughness or armor. But in theatre, with a cast, you can let all those walls down.
And as a kid…I just see kids change in front of my eyes. They come in tough, with a certain amount of distance from people. It’s just normal life, you learn to do that. But then you get on stage and you laugh together and you dance together and you go through rehearsals and you sweat together. And you come up with new ways of doing things. You design costumes together or you choreograph together. And all of a sudden out of that you have these incredible friendships. So for me the value of that is that it creates community, creates family, creates a safe space for kids to learn to express themselves. Learn confidence. Learn freedom. It’s just safe. And when you’re safe you can actually learn. When you’re not safe your priority is to get safe or to protect yourself, your priority is not to express yourself or learn something new or make a friend.
So there’s something about theatre that, in the right hands, of course, with a director that cares about something like that. Or a producer or a company that cares about that. You can have a really magical, open-hearted, vulnerable space to be in as a kid and that’s rare. Really rare. It was rare when I was a kid and it’s really rare now.”