With a seemingly unlimited number of options for summer camp in the greater New Orleans area, it can be hard for parents to decide what camp is a good fit for their child. More than just being fun, a summer theatre camp can help children build skills they’ll carry with them for life. Here are just seven ways children can benefit from theatre camp:
They’ll learn empathy. When actors read a character, they’re forced to put themselves in that character’s shoes. They ask themselves why characters make certain choices, or how they could have done things differently. Child psychologists and social scientists everywhere seem to agree: empathy is essential for helping young children develop into successful adults. Read more here. And here. Theatre encourages children to understand characters who are from different situations, time periods, and cultures.
They’ll build confidence. Theatre encourages children to take risks and perform for an audience, teaching them to trust their ideas and abilities. Theatre helps pull kids out of their comfort zones, teaching them to speak clearly and be comfortable in front of an audience. This confidence will apply in nearly every aspect of their future.
They’ll learn to solve problems. Theatre teaches that problems can have more than one solution. Children learn to communicate the who, what, where, when, and why to the audience. Improvisation fosters quick-thinking solutions, which can lead to greater adaptability in life.
They’ll work as part of a team. Sports have the reputation of building teamwork, but theatre builds teamwork just as well! Kids in theatre learn that they are responsible to the group and must depend on others. A child who fails to remember his lines quickly recognizes he is holding everyone up. Children also discover they have the ability to bring out the best in others.
They’ll broaden their horizons. Actors take on new personas that require them to behave, act, and speak in ways that may be unfamiliar. This is particularly helpful for children who often don’t know much beyond their families, homes, schools, and neighborhoods. Through acting kids learn to see the world from a brand new, unexplored perspective.
They’ll be exposed to variety of literature and history. Theatre is a great way to introduce children to literary and historical themes. Performing in a variety of productions helps children relate to historical events, igniting a love and respect for both history and literature.
They’ll build imagination and creativity. In a world where technology is always at our fingertips, theatre gives children an outlet to discover new ideas, make creative choices, and interpret material in expressive ways. All these concepts help children develop imagination and creativity. When children are placed in situations they’ve never been in before, they have to find unique solutions to solve the problems.
The bottom line: Consider enrolling your child in summer theatre camp. The lessons they learn will benefit them long after the curtain closes and the lights dim.
St. Martin’s Summer Theatre Camp runs June 5 - 23, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is open to students going into second to 10th grade. In addition to learning music, dance, acting, stage direction, costuming, and prop design, campers will also have other themed days, including swimming days. The camp culminates with two performances of The Wizard of Oz on June 23 in the Solomon Theater. Cost is $550 and includes lunch and snacks. Before and after care is available. Visit www.stmsaints.com/SummerCamp for more information.