How Important is Fine Arts in your classroom?

I went to watch Dallas Theatre Center’s production of Frankenstein recently. Upon walking into the theatre the mood is immediately set with dark lighting, video and graphics of twisted bodies being projected onto the walls, and ambient sounds of pain an anguish. I knew immediately that I was in for an immersive theatrical experience. The show started with a loud crash and a flash of lightening, startling the audience and immediately captivating them. On stage was Frankenstein’s monster, tied to the wall as the electricity surged through his body, with flashes of light, sound effects, and projections. I wont get into the rest of the show, but I highly recommend you see it if you get a chance. However, the question is, how important is Fine Arts in your classroom? I often hear “I want to be an engineer, not an actor”. I understand that there is a misconception about what Theater can be, and hope this can clear things up a bit.

As I looked around the theatre space during the show, I noticed many areas of education that play into this stellar show. The most obvious being the Acting and Storytelling. It’s clear that these actors had studied acting, but at the root of all actors is an educated reader. You must not simply memorize words, but look into the history of the character understanding why things happen as opposed to simply accepting that they do happen. But what about the rest of the show? Audio, Video, Graphic Design, Engineering, Construction, Electrical, Math, Information Technology. All of these classes play a vital role into producing this show. This one show had complex set pieces that moved independently on a rotating stage, multiple projectors with video clearly recorded specifically for this show, and audio effects that continued the story. It became obvious that you must have a strong background in Math, Engineering, and Construction in order to create the physical Environment. Any Audio Video students would dream of creating the immersive experience that stimulated senses. None of the projections or audio would work if they weren’t perfectly synchronized through the network.

In short, when working in education, it’s important to understand that each class you take can integrate with the other. Take the time to get to know the teachers outside of your subject area and ask how you can blend your projects together. It will not only keep the students more engaged, but allow them to see the value in various areas of their own education.