In 2010, the Riddlesbrood Touring Theater Company started our, our Community Theater Program. It is called the “Arts on the MOVE” Performing Arts Program for children and teens which culminates with performances in an original musical adaptation of a main stage production. Arts of the Move gives students the tools to: reach and dream, discover and create within the magical world of the performing arts! Our instructors are passionate, working artists with extensive experience in their specific disciplines. Generally the experience consists of 10 weeks of expert instruction in musical theater, art, acting, vocal music and more! Involving children in the theater is a great opportunity to teach them several life skills while simultaneously having fun with a troupe of professional comedy actors and actresses.
Back in the Day
Think back to when you were a kid. Was there a special moment that you shared with your mother when she taught you how to bait a hook with a worm or with your father when he taught you how to bake Crème Brûlée? Of course there was. We all have those memories.
Childhood is all about gaining knowledge through life experience. Whether it's playing with friends in the yard or cooking pancakes over and over again until you discover that eight is the perfect number of chocolate chips, we are as adults all that we did as children.
Together as a society, it's up to us to do whatever we can to encourage the next generation to think creatively and to appreciate the arts and the impact they have on our lives. To that end, we encourage parents everywhere to consider the benefits of allowing your child to participate in local community theater groups like ours. Community theater is a fantastic opportunity to introduce your child to the creative world of acting -- a world that introduces your son or daughter to the concepts of confidence building, fostering good character, goal setting, and role playing. These are skills that will last them for all of their lives.
When you want to become good at something, practice is everything. Whether it's riding a bike or performing in front of an audience, the only way to master that skill is through repetition. The enemy of confidence is fear... and fear is afraid of one thing above all others... repetition! Child actors involved in theater learn at an early age how to stand in front of an audience, hit their cues, and then exit stage right. This gives them a huge boost in confidence as well as teaches them about timing and where stage right is.
Working together with others is how we build character. The interdependent relationships we form with friends and co-workers teach us how to be productive members of society.
In the theater, each actor builds relationships with not only the other actors, but with members of the audience, crew, and theater staff as well. Kids who participate will become precocious and advance beyond their peers.
If you ask a kid what he or she wants to be when they grow up, you'll get one answer at breakfast, a different answer at lunch, and yet a third at dinner. Kids are sponges that soak up the world, but like sponges are not born with a structure that can contain their thoughts.
Setting and then achieving goals is how "I want to be a soccer player" turns into "I'm going to be a starting forward for the Philadelphia Union." When young people get involved in the theater, they quickly adopt the structure and determination required to memorize their lines and put on a successful performance.
Walking in another person's shoes has many benefits aside from simply developing creative skills of an actor, writer or designer. Theater gives you a perspective that allows you to understand where other people are coming from. Acting is all about becoming someone else -- an activity that naturally gives you empathy and experience in situations that you may otherwise never have had. These simulated experiences can be just as valuable in making important decisions as real experiences…giving your child an edge!
The New Jersey Connection
We travel all throughout New Jersey doing what we can to encourage the next generation to think about the arts and enjoy the world of comedy by giving them parts in our shows. It's the responsibility of all of us to help teach the next generation the great things we've come to take for granted. And for those of you who happen to be in the Philadelphia area this weekend, be sure to check out ongoing mainstage Arts of the Move program.