This spring, Johnson University students will be performing the play, Our Miss Brooks by R.J. Mann. While many people enjoy attending a play, the many benefits of participating in theater may not be apparent at first glance. Aside from being a lot of fun, the experience of participating in the production and performance of a play is helpful in learning new skills that benefit both academics and interpersonal relationships. Skills such as public speaking and memorization are developed along with new friendships and experiences.
It's no surprise that 75 percent of Americans struggle with a fear of public speaking. For these people (perhaps you're one of them), the idea of talking in front of any audience is terrifying; however, it's an incredibly important skill to possess. Being in theater is a safe and comfortable way to practice public speaking. After all, nobody even sees you - the audience only sees the character that you're portraying. It's possible to practice speaking in front of an audience - without freezing in fear - by hiding behind the guise of the persona that you are acting out. Even if you have no problem with speaking in front of people, it's a great way to keep those speech class skills sharpened and ready.
Working on a project is one of the best ways to develop deep, long-lasting friendships. Nothing unites people more than a common goal! Much like participating in a sport, when a goal becomes evident, bonds start to form between the various players as they realize the strength that comes in numbers. Participating in a play is a great way to meet people and make new friends or spend quality time with existing friends. Theater provides the perfect atmosphere for bonding with people as you encourage your peers and solve problems as a team. Putting on a play is a group effort, and when everyone wants the production to succeed and works together toward that end, beautiful cooperation takes place!
Memorization is a vital skill for test taking in college. The way that your brain remembers is by creating pathways between pieces of information. The more you memorize, the better your brain becomes at creating those memorization pathways and creating links between stored information. Memorizing lines for a play helps you practice these memorization skills by boosting information retention and training your brain how to remember more efficiently. This will be helpful in countless circumstances, whether you're remembering dates for a history test, or the names of all the minor prophets in the Old Testament.
Finally, it's a blast! There is almost nothing more satisfying than taking a bow on stage after months of hard work and accepting applause for the production that you and your fellow cast members have pulled off. Being in a play has many wonderful advantages, like practicing public speaking and developing memorization skills. Additionally, the process of working hard for something and achieving it is an amazing result. However, the best outcome is making friends with your fellow cast members and creating fond memories.
Written by Brooke Boling ('18). Brooke is from Louisville, Kentucky. Brooke enjoys mocha caramel lattes, vivacious hair colors, and all things Dr. Who. She is participating in this year's Theater production, Our Miss Brooks. She is also part of the Honors English Program at Johnson University Tennessee, and hopes one day to be a writer.