It’s great to see that young thespians are returning to the stage this spring. In Capac, three shows of The Sound of Music will happen this weekend. In Imlay City, the high school’s first musical will come to life on stage when students present You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown in two shows next month. Likewise, drama will ensue at the Dryden Jr./Sr. High School’s Fine Arts Festival on May 7 where the Drama Club will present Shoestring Theatre and May 6-7 is when the Almont Theatre Company will also take to the stage.

Fine art festivals and regular spring productions haven’t happened the last two years because of the pandemic and attendance restrictions and, as a result, many students are eager and appreciative to get back on stage. Hopefully, the community is eager to support these endeavors too. The benefits of theatre education are wide ranging and can help set a student on a trajectory toward continued success in both life and academics.

According to statistics cited by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, students who either take part in performance coursework or some other experience outscored non-arts students on the 2005 SAT by an average of 65 points in the verbal component and 34 points in the math component. Drama, like other extra curricular activities helps improve school attendance and reduces high school dropout rates. Drama activities have been shown to help students with reading skills and comprehension, helps youth build self-esteem and can help bridge gaps in achievement among those with varying abilities.

Polling numbers show that a large majority of the public believes that arts, including theatre, are vital to a well-rounded education. In the 2005 Harris Poll, that figure stood at an impressive 93 percent.

Others with experience in youth theatre productions have found that being on stage helps children better understand empathy and gets lots of experience in goal setting—both personally and as a group.

We trust that the community will buy tickets, be an engaged audience and heap praise on the cast and crew members of these upcoming shows. It’s a good thing for them, the future of local student theatre and a well-rounded education.