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Arts education in the schools has been cut drastically in the last several years.
“With the push from NCLB to focus on testing, arts and education are treated
as if they’re not compatible. People are forgetting that math is taught when a
child is playing an instrument. English is taught when a child is reading or wri-
ting a script. Critical thinking is taught when a child is analyzing art.”
Jamie Myrick, English teacher at Adams Middle School in California
Echo Theatre Company saw a niche we could fill by combining high quality, professional theatre - trained actors and directors and excellent material - with math, science, technology. Our vision: to Illuminate, Inspire and Stimulate, is one that works with adult audiences as well as middle and high school students. There is no "dumbing down" of the material or the message.
The arts, and specifically theatre, are essential in everyday life. They "can connect people more deeply to the world and open them to new ways of seeing," (Smith, Edutopia). Sculptor, Magdalena Abakanovicz said, "Art does not solve problems, but makes us aware of their existence." Theatre is a powerful tool - Edward Albee noted, "Theater holds a mirror up to its audience which says, “This is who you are. You don’t like it, tough. Change.”
If we are to educate the next generation of young people and expect them to go out and change the world, then that mirror becomes crucial.
Research indicates that involvement in the arts increases student engagement and encourages consistent attendance, and that drop-out rates correlate with student levels of involvement in the arts.
From learning to read to the in-depth study of Shakespearean literature, drama can play a significant role in the continual development of students’ reading comprehension skills. Studies indicate that not only do the performance of a story and a number of other drama activities in the classroom contribute to a student’s understanding of the work performed, but these experiences also help them to develop a better understanding of other works and of language and expression in general. The results below were gleaned from studies where educators and students alike noticed a difference when drama played a part in their classrooms.
(from the American Alliance of Theatre and Education Website - See The Effects of Theatre Education article below for more details)
Echo and Education
Illuminate | Inspire | Stimulate