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Impact of the Arts on Learning & Educational Success
With shrinking budgets and prioritization of core academics, young people today are participating in fewer and fewer arts enrichment experiences. For many schools in the region, TCT replaces and enhances the theatre arts experiences that most schools are unable to provide through onsite workshops and residencies.
During the 2020-2021 season:
- 75% of educators reported a reduction in arts education at their schools
- 86% of educators who had experienced a reduction in arts education at their schools reported that TCT productions fill the gap caused by these cutbacks
- 93% of educators reported TCT effectively creates access to theatre for children who would not otherwise benefit
A summary of arts education research from Americans for the Arts finds that the arts boosts learning and achievement for students. Some key findings:
- Students who participate in the arts outperform their peers on virtually every measure. Researchers found that “sustained learning” in music and theatre correlates to greater success in math and reading, and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds see the greatest benefits.
- Learning in the arts may be uniquely able to boost learning and achievement for young children, students from economically disadvantaged circumstances, and students needing remedial instruction.
- Cognitive neuroscientists at seven major universities have found strong links between arts education and cognitive development (e.g. thinking, problem solving, concept understanding, information processing, and overall intelligence.
- Children motivated in the arts develop the attention skills and memory retrieval that apply to other subject areas.
- Students in art classes learn a remarkable array of mental habits not emphasized elsewhere in school including persistence, expression, making clear connections between schoolwork and the outside world, observing, envisioning, and innovating through exploration.
Impact on High School Achievement and on Graduation Rates
In a study of 25,000 students, Americans for the Arts found that students who participate in the arts, both in school and outside of school, demonstrate improved academic performance, increased standardized test scores, and lower dropout rates.
Research conducted between 1987 and 1998 on young people working in the arts for at least three hours on each week throughout at least one full year demonstrated the following:
- Four times more likely to have been recognized for academic achievement
- Being elected to class office within their schools more than three times as often
- Four times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
- Three times more likely to win an award for school attendance
- Four times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem
Impact of JumpStart Theatre Program for Student Success
TCT hosted the JumpStart showcase event with 6 schools in TCT JumpStart program designed to build sustainable theatre programs in middle schools throughout the region.
The Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF) in partnership with iTheatrics and Music Theatre International (MTI) initiated the JumpStart Theatre program in 2015. TCT took over the administration of the program locally while JumpStart Theatre expanded nationally and continues to be one of six JumpStart Theatre partners in the U.S. that help to create sustainable theatre programs in middle schools where previously there were none. A 2019 professional assessment of the program on student growth in social and emotional skills found improvement in the following areas:
- Ownership and Agency – Students demonstrated high levels of agency, independence, and ownership in all aspects of the creative process, even when unprompted.
- Creative Problem Solving – Students demonstrated problem solving behaviors regularly and independently.
- Empathy – Students demonstrated empathy for characters and for their peers.
- Confidence – Observers and teachers all reported tremendous growth in students; confidence throughout the three-year program.
- Collaboration – Students worked together productively and collaborated meaningfully.
- Sense of Community – Students fostered an authentic sense of community within their JumpStart Theatre programs.
The Children’s Theatre at The Emery
To ensure its future as a premiere arts organization in our region and expand its innovative programming that reaches and teaches, TCT is embarking on a transformational campaign, A Crown for the Queen City, to reimagine and restore the landmark Emery Theater as TCT’s permanent MainStage home and a state-of-the-art venue for the region.
With The Emery as its home, TCT will fill a critical void left by the diminishing availability of arts education. TCT provides young audiences with the space to experience theatre as entertainment, and the profound impact of theatre to teach and inspire.
TCT’s goal is to provide affordable theatre programming to all children, regardless of socioeconomic background, so that they equitably receive the many benefits of arts exposure. TCT is committed to the principles of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access. Its programming and storytelling encourage inclusivity and promote acceptance of others’ differences. Children see themselves onstage at TCT through casting choices – recent performances featured Cinderella, Lois Lane, and Annie as characters of color. Direct feedback from patrons praises TCT for the diversity of its cast and performances.
One such patron shared the following: “I love the diversity, variety of plays, and how much my sister and I enjoy the shows just as much if not more than my daughter and my nephew. We all talk about the shows long after and [the children] reenact the whole thing for the entire family after church on Sunday. Hands down you are the best theatre in Cincinnati.”
To ensure its future as a premiere arts organization in our region and expand its innovative programming that reaches and teaches, TCT is embarking on a transformational campaign, A Crown for the Queen City, to reimagine and restore the landmark Emery Theater as TCT’s permanent MainStage home and a state-of-the-art venue for the region. With The Emery as its home, TCT will unlock its potential to inspire diverse audiences with original works and even more innovative programming.
TCT will also expand programming for younger children (theatre for the very young) and teenagers, works that would be considered a revenue-risk in its current rented space. Bringing TCT to The Emery ensures Cincinnati’s premiere children’s theatre can continue to provide arts access, education, and foundational wellbeing to the families and students of our region and across the Midwest for generations to come.
While not yet public, and still in the silent phase of the campaign, I am pleased to tell you that the campaign initiatives are being met with great enthusiasm putting us already at 52% of our overall fundraising goal!