When I was in college I studied music performance. Besides the theory classes, the voice lessons, and mandatory recitals, we also were required to take a performance lab. It was in this class that we would get to perform our repertoire for each other and receive feedback from our peers. This class was good for learning how to listen and observe as a performer. It is my belief that students should be learning this skill much earlier in life. I’ve been working with a group of adult performers lately in looking for new membership opportunities for teen performers in our community. An idea for a theatre critic club was proposed and I think it’s an incredible model that could be used in any community.
The Drama Club Scheme
It’s been said that actors make the best writers because they understand the way theatre works. However, these performers should also be out observing the crafts of others to really understand all there is to know. The idea proposed to me recently was a kind of club for high school students who get together to go watch local theatre and have discussions about the shows immediately after. The theatre finds multiple adult chaperones with professional theatre backgrounds who will model proper critical language on the trip. When they return to their conversational locale, the students will be urged to make remarks on the production and have dialogues with each other.
Besides the fact that these students will be able to openly voice their opinions, you will be teaching them to support the arts as they get older. When these students value the event of going to the theatre, they create their own traditions as adults and become really invested in their own artistic communities. You just have to be the one to supply the environment.
Better Performers, Better People
We worry so much about having enough money to fund the arts right now but with low costing clubs like these, we can invest in theatre supporters of the future. To save money on seeing shows, offer ad swaps and comp ticket swaps with the theatres where you want to take the students. By doing that, you show other theatres how much you care about your community and providing for the youth within it. There really are no downsides to this great idea and I know a ton of performers who would love to spend time with high school students and get a free ticket to a show. If you reach out into the community, it won’t be difficult to find adult supporters.