What is the role of theatre companies in schools and how can theatre companies have a positive impact on students?
Brainstorm Productions have been touring their program of anti-bullying, cyber bullying and wellbeing education theatre shows to Australian primary and high schools for over 30 years, performing to over 350,000 kids each year.
Their programs help students by exploring confronting concepts such as bullying, peer pressure and violence presented in an easily digestible language and within a safe environment. For instance, Brainstorm Productions high school play ‘Sticks & Stones‘ highlights the consequences of violence and aggressive behaviour. Performers explore the different forms of violence in the playground, on the street and at home and provide students with real-life strategies to deal with conflict resolution, anger management, assertiveness and breaking the cycle of violence. In the age of ‘one-punch can kill’ campaigns and violence, ‘Sticks & Stones‘ can help students from making split-second decisions that could ruin lives through senseless violence.
Other Brainstorm Production plays put a spotlight on a wide range of issues affecting kids today including the consequences of cyber bullying, risky behaviour, negative relationships and substance abuse. Strategies and solutions are conveyed through role-playing, humour, singing, dancing, acrobatics and theatre to engage kids, while delivering important messages and providing life skills. In August 2014 the International Theatre Festival for Young Audiences also explored how theatre can contribute to the lives of children. Please find below the key points summarised by The International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People:
- Theatre can help provide a greater understanding of the human condition.
- Theatre can give children the tools to defend or challenge the reality, learning to think through their emotions – feeling first and then thinking.
- Theatre can present strong issues and situations on stage through abstraction and emotion as well as through content.
- Shared experience and connection with ideas is something that theatre does well.
- Theatre can help point to injustice or inequity and deal with emotion and feeling.
- Theatre provides intangible, lasting benefits to audiences.
In this way, theatre in schools can have a significant role in helping students as they face many of life’s challenges.
But let’s ask the kids what they think? Here are some samples of the positive feedback received from students who have attended a Brainstorm Productions in-school theatre performance:
- “Realistic! Can’t believe 2 seconds can change your life! Fantastic storyline!” – Mary Mackillop College Students – Wired
- “Excellent, cool, relevant, interesting and entertaining. Highly recommended!” – Craigslea State High School Students – Cyberia
- “Great to have a story rather than ‘do this’ or ‘do that’…… seeing a performance makes it easy to understand…… It was really ‘moving’….. the music interpretation was awesome….the voiceovers were really effective….great characters….helps us understand what bullying really is and how it affects people…..100/10…yes that’s right. 100/10.” – Students Ogilvie High School – Verbal Combat
- “It made us think on a deeper level about the effects of bullying. The play re-acted a teenager’s normal life at school, I learnt a lot from it! 10/10!” – All Saints College Students – Verbal Combat
- “Made me think about my choices, informed us about the dangers of drugs and making a wrong choice. The consequences sorta hit you in the face! REALITY CHECK!” – Flagstone State Community College Students – Cheap Thrills
- “Loved this…I got it…That was great…Fabulous actions….clever moves….. It’s happened to me…..Can we get them again?” – St Ignatius Students – The Hurting Games
- “Awesome! Showed me how NOT to be a bully or a target, and to control your anger!” – Renmark Primary School Students – Sticks & Stones
To read more testimonials, please click here.
To find out more about Brainstorm Productions theatre programs, click on the following links: