ATC’s Play in a Day instructor, Steve Leaver, writes about the many valuable life skills that an acting class can provide anyone, regardless of age. Steve has over 15 years of theatre teaching experience and is also the Executive Director of Imagination Theatre! Don’t wait to sign up for Play in a Day, contact us now!
Throughout my 17 years teaching theatre to kids of all ages, I have taught with the belief that theater is for anyone; regardless of age, ability, or background. With Actor’s Training Center, I have been teaching some of our youngest students in the Play in a Day young actors class. However, theater teaches important skills that can help anyone through any stage of life they are in, and regardless of whether or not they choose acting as a career. Some of these life skills include learning how to work with others, share ideas, listen, focus, and consider different points of view. It teaches critical thinking by having to figure out a character’s objective, what stands in the way of that objective, and what tactics they can use to achieve that objective. It teaches empathy by having to see a situation from another’s perspective, and try to relate to what that character is feeling.
“One of the first things we focus on when young students come into a beginning acting class is establishing a sense of play.”
As a teacher, one thing I have noticed throughout the years is that with the increased use of technology, sometimes these interpersonal skills are becoming more challenging for students. One of the first things we focus on when young students come into a beginning acting class is establishing a sense of play. We do a lot of exercises that focus on using their imaginations. They learn how to give and take, cooperate, share ideas, and create something from scratch.
“My goal is not only to give the students a love for theater, but to give them tools that they can use in everyday life situations.”
With our Play in a Day class, we literally have two hours to put together a ten-minute play by the end of the class. In order to accomplish that, the students have to focus, work closely together as an ensemble, and figure out what contributions they can make to the end product. Every class starts off with some ensemble building games and other theater exercises that get them to use their imaginations, bodies, and voices (the tools of the actor). Then, we pick a short story for that week that we are going to learn. Students explore the themes of the story and then think about how we can re-create the story to make it come to life. By the end of the session, they get to cross over from the creative process to performance when they get to show their work to their parents and sibling.
My goal is not only to give the students a love for theater, but to give them tools that they can use in everyday life situations. Theater helps to create socially conscious, empathetic, and pro-active individuals who are able to work well with others and come up with creative solutions to problems. These are skills that will help young people be successful in school and beyond in whatever field they choose in life.
By ATC Instructor & Imagination Theatre Executive Director, Steve Leaver
Play in a Day begins October 3rd, ends on Dec 5th, and meets every Thursday. It runs from 4:30pm - 6:30pm, at the Actors Training Center Main Office. Parents and siblings are invited to watch the play at the end of every class!
Sign up now before it’s too late!