THEATRE EDUCATION IN THE SPOTLIGHT IN MARCH

Submitted by Angie Bin, Fort Scott High School Theatre and Speech Teacher

Students at Fort Scott High School Lead Community Advocacy Efforts

[Fort Scott, KS, March 21, 2022]—Students at Fort Scott High School are joining the national grassroots effort called Theatre in Our Schools Month (TIOS) to advocate for the benefits of theatre education in schools.

Members of International Thespian Society (ITS) Troupe 7365 are drawing attention to the need for increased access to quality theatre programs for all students, especially as schools reimagine programs in the ever-shifting landscape influenced by COVID-19 protocols.

To get the word out, the troupe is participating in many events.

Students are hosting the annual FSHS Talent Show and Miss(ter) FSHS Pageant at 7 p.m. on March 25 at the FS Auditorium. Tickets for reserved seats are $6 and available at fortscotthighschool.ludus.com or at the door.

The Thespian troupe is especially raising money to send students to the International Thespian Festival in June.

The troupe is also sharing information about the importance of Theatre in Our Schools and students’ personal stories via Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tiktok.

Thespians Shirt Thursday awards students to who wear theatre-related shirts to school with prizes.

The ITS is the theatre honor society for middle and high school students. These student thespians plan and implement TIOS activities in their schools, in their communities, and with elected officials. The presentations and activities explain how theatre education positively shapes students’ lives by instilling necessary life skills.

TIOS Month is an opportunity for students, parents, communities, school boards, and elected officials to come together to make theatre education more available to all students.

One of the key messages is that theatre skills help students develop vital 21st-century skills like communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, as well as social/emotional skills critical to students’ growth as young adults.

For example, according to The College Board, in 2015, students who took four years of arts classes in high school scored an average of 92 points higher on their SATs than students who only took one half year or less.

But, according to the U.S. Department of Education, only 28 percent of high schools in high poverty areas offer theatre instruction.

According to a 2018 poll, 72 percent of Americans believe the arts unify our communities regardless of age, race, and ethnicity, and more than 90 percent believe students should receive an education in the arts in elementary, middle, and high school. The poll, “Americans Speak Out About the Arts in 2018,” was conducted by Americans for the Arts.

To see ITS Troupe 7365 in action, come to the Spring Improv Comedy Show on Apr. 30 at 7 p.m. in the FSHS Auditorium.

Children can also participate in Tiger Drama Camp – The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales on May 16-28. Registration forms are available at Buck Run.

Theatre in Our Schools is jointly sponsored by the American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE) and the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA). For more information about TIOS, visit schooltheatre.org/tios and follow #TheatreInOurSchools on social media.

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