Why Egyptian YouTheatre

Welcome to the exciting, new tuition-free Egyptian YouTheatre!

Registration for Fall classes has closed. The Spring Semester schedule will be announced in December.

View the current class schedule here.

 

“If you take a child to the theater, not only will they practice empathy, they might also laugh uproariously, or come home singing about science, or want to know more about history, or tell you what happened at school today, or spend all dinner discussing music, or learn how to handle conflict, or start becoming future patrons of the arts.” — Lauren Gunderson 

 

Our Mission

The Egyptian Theatre YouTheatre program is based on the premise that participating in an arts program is an important aspect in the growth of every child, and that this education should be offered to all children for free. Through the creativity, discipline, and teamwork of being part of a production, our students are instilled with confidence, an appreciation for the performing arts, and life skills for navigating obstacles to achieve their ambitions. 

At YouTheatre, we wholeheartedly believe in the power of drama to create positive change in the lives of our students! That belief is backed up by a wide variety of research; studies conducted all over the world have consistently shown that theatre education promotes and fosters ‘whole person’ growth which can be seen on and off the stage.

In lieu of paying tuition, we want all YouTheatre families to "buy-in" to our mission. Below are some highlights from our research-based approach.  

Increases Self-Confidence 

Drama classes help kids build social and interpersonal skills, as well as improving their sense of self and self-esteem. Being onstage, exploring creativity, and performing original material can combat self-doubt and leave students with greater confidence in their abilities and potential. A three-year study conducted in England showed that theatre and drama classes encouraged “children to engage with a positive view of themselves and their competency,” and offered “a democratic learning style allowing children to interpret their own voices as being important, authentic, and acknowledged” (Spicer). 

Improves Academic Performance 

A number of different studies have analyzed the effect of drama education on different aspects of intellectual development. Ann Podlozny found in one study that acting and role playing sparked a “demonstrable increase” in reading comprehension as compared to a control group that engaged in ordinary reading, and in another study, that drama and theatre education showed a strong correlation with increased vocabulary and written story recollection. Other research has demonstrated better math skills, increased enrollment in higher education, and a narrowed achievement gap between people of varying socioeconomic statuses.  

Aids Physical Development & Motor Skills 

Theatre is a team sport! Nearly every class we offer at Egyptian YouTheatre involves a movement component, whether it’s learning how to operate a puppet, building musical theatre dance skills, or exploring all the different ways a character might walk and hold themselves. This movement training, while specifically tailored for the dramatic arts, also helps kids find a sense of confidence, control, and balance in their own bodies. Each of the movement styles that YouTheatre students learn develop both fine and gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and physical confidence (Spicer). 

Fosters Compassion and Understanding 

Much of theatre involves considering what people different from you may think or feel, whether you are onstage or in the audience. This imagining of other people’s inner life is known in psychology as “theory of mind”, which is defined as “the ability to understand that other people’s thoughts, feelings, and moods may differ from your own and examine the reason behind them”. Theory of mind is vital to fostering a sense of compassion for others, as compassion requires us to think beyond our own thoughts and feelings. Students who study theatre are shown to have a greater aptitude at theory of mind, allowing them to see and care for the people around them more effectively (Goldstein, et al.).  

Improves Mental Health and Self-Efficacy Skills 

Theatre and drama education have been found to have a wide range of positive effects on mental health, including reduced stress, anxiety, and depression, and a generally improved sense of well-being. It also inspires positivity and increases civic engagement. Much of this has to do with creating an environment that nurtures self-expression, which can increase students’ abilities to communicate their own feelings and needs (Harland, et al.). This ability also often coincides with children’s sense of independence and willingness to advocate for themselves; as well as a “willingness to be patient and persevere and feelings of control over self and destiny” (Catterall). 

We think theatre is a ton of fun, but we also know how important it is to your kids’ development as people! Drama education, more than other art forms, allows kids to learn to “communicate and relate to other people, and to engage with the world” (Harland, et al.). We’ll play pretend, put on costumes, and learn how to tell stories, but we will also learn how to be whole, healthy, and creative human beings. 

 

References: 

Catterall, James S. (2007). “Enhancing peer conflict resolution skills through drama: an experimental study, Research in Drama Education.” The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 12:2, 163-178, DOI: 10.1080/13569780701321013. 

Goldstein, T. R., Tamil, M., & Winner, E. (2013). “Expressive suppression and acting classes.” Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 7(2), 191. 

Harland, J., Kinder, K., Lord, P., Scott, A., Schaben, I., Haynes, J., …& Paola, R., (2000). “Arts education in secondary schools : Effects and effectiveness.” Slough: NFER, 566. 

Podlozny, Ann. (2000) Strengthening verbal skills through use of classroom drama: A clear link.” Journal of Aesthetic Education, 34(¾), 239-275. 61(5):1617-27. 

Spicer, Neve. “21 Evidence-Based Benefits of Drama and Theatre Education.” We the Parents. July 23, 2021. 

Spicer, Neve. “What Can Arts Education Do For the Young? Let Us Count The Ways.” American Theatre. September 15, 2020. 

Turner, H., Mayall, B., Dickinson, R., Clark, A., Hood, S., Wiggins, M., & Samuels, J. (2004). “Children engaging with drama: An evaluation of the National Theatre’s drama work in primary schools 2002-2004.”