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By Laura Moore
Special to The PREVIEW
Thingamajig Theatre Company children’s program — the Whatchamawhozits are getting ready to start another incredibly fun and educational round of classes on Sept. 20.
The classes take place every Friday from 2 to 3:30 p.m., with the final class on Dec. 6. The students will play theatre games and learn acting skills while rehearsing for the holiday classic “Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus.” The Whatchamawhozits will be present the play to the public on Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.
The Whatchamawhozits theater education can be an important means of stimulating creativity in problem solving as well as challenging students’ perceptions about their world and about themselves. Theatre provides students with an outlet for emotions, thoughts and dreams. It gives the student a place to experiment with various personal choices and solutions to very real problems — problems from their own life, or problems faced by characters in literature or historical figures. This can happen in a safe atmosphere, where actions and consequences can be examined, discussed and, in a real sense, experienced without the dangers and pitfalls of the “real world.” It is also an important tool for building self-confidence as well as preparing students to live and work in a world that is increasingly team oriented.
The story of “Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus” is the perfect vehicle for helping kids learn all of this and the Thingamajig Theatre is ready and excited to teach the kids in a fun and adventurous way.
Classes are open to kids 7-12 years old. The cost is $100 for 11 classes and two performances. Class space is extremely limited. Please e-mail Whatchamawhozits teacher Laura Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm a registration spot. Registration forms can be found online at www.pagosacenter.org and can be mailed with a check to 2313 Eagle Drive after confirmation of registration.
Studies have shown that:
• Students who have participated in dramatic activities are less likely to have difficulty speaking in public, will have the ability to put themselves in others’ shoes and will gain a more positive, confident self image.
• After a six-month improvisational drama project, gains were observed in vocabulary and reading comprehension. Survey results also suggested that students showed improvement in attitude areas including trust, self acceptance and acceptance of others.
• Third graders who were immersed in a French language acquisition program with social studies through drama. The use of memorized play scripts assisted with recall of French language months later.
• Sustained student involvement in theater arts (acting in plays and musicals, participating in drama clubs and taking acting lessons) have show gains in reading proficiency, self-concept, motivation, and higher levels of empathy and tolerance for others.
• A co-relationship between high involvement in the dramatic arts and better academic scores was found among all students.
• High level of involvement in theater co-related to high levels of achievement in reading proficiency.