ASSITEJ SA believes that every child and young person in our country deserves access to the arts, and especially to live theatre, from the earliest possible age. Theatre is a transformational force in the lives of young people, inspiring imaginations, shifting perceptions, teaching empathy and building our nation.
Some specific reasons for why theatre is so important:
- Theatre allows us to explore perceptions different from our own. It deepens our capacity for empathy and enhances and develops emotional intelligence, hence providing a powerful platform for behaviour change.
- Theatre arts enhance learning – they reach a diversity of learners through multiple learning modalities (visual, auditory, tactile, musical and kinesthetic). This helps young people to learn and builds confidence in their capacities.
- Theatre can make abstract concepts or ideas more concrete and understandable. It communicates in memorable and entertaining ways, bringing complex ideas to life.
- Theatre arts develop lifelong skills of communication, critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, reflection, and perseverance.
- Theatre can develop appreciation of a child’s own cultural heritage, while also building a sense of commonality and diversity across cultures which can result in deepening tolerance.
- Arts experiences build specific cognitive, emotional, and psychomotor pathways in brain function; a recent study has shown that if young people are not exposed to arts from an early age, these neural pathways will atrophy, and their development later will be stunted.
- Theatre helps learners connect to themselves and to one another. It develops their ability to express a personal vision and communicate it, while appreciating, responding to and collaborating with the visions of others.
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