A child's access to theatre & drama can boost academic performance

Children and teenagers who are exposed to live theatre are more likely to develop the emotional and cognitive skills required to enable them to deal with a complicated world according to new research commissioned by leading independent ticket provider Encore Tickets.

The research, conducted by Dr Natasha Kirkham, a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Researcher at Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at Birkbeck University London, found that live performance has distinct benefits to the average child.

This report is a follow up to earlier research commissioned by Encore Tickets in 2017, which , which examined the benefits of experiencing live theatre and found that there were significant health and social benefits amongst adults.

As the theatre is enjoyed by people of all ages, Encore Tickets wanted to understand whether similarly discernible benefits were evident amongst children. Dr Kirkham focused this new research on the effects of live theatre performances on children and teenagers and uncovered the below benefits, which children as young as three years old can experience:

  • Improved social tolerance: Experiencing live theatre over watching similar content via a screen, such as a movie, can achieve a much deeper understanding and absorption of the content leading to higher levels of social tolerance and a greater ability to question.

  • Improved academic performance: Engagement with performing arts positively impacts academic performance and can boost academic performance of the average child by 4% when drama is part of the curriculum.

  • Positive social change: Theatre holds immense value for childrens’ developing minds. It is a powerful tool for facilitating children and teenagers’ self-efficacy to promote positive social change as well as an improved ability to broach complex and difficult issues and subjects.

Taken together, Dr Kirkham states this research suggests an evident benefit of theatre attendance for children, across a range of developmental areas. Theatre can improve social bonding, allow for emotions to be explored in a safe space, develop the emotional and cognitive skills to deal with a complicated world, and kick-start conversations about important issues.

Kieran Fox, Head of Consumer at Encore Tickets, says: “This report confirms what we have always believed about the importance of live theatre for children’s development. It is clear that live theatre can have a great impact on both academic performance and social behaviours, and we would love to see more investment in drama and arts in schools. We hope that more parents become aware of the many benefits of experiencing live theatre for their children and realise that there is more to live theatre than just a great day out with the kids.”

Encore Tickets Public Relations

Paul Coldham – paul.coldham@found.co.uk

About Encore Tickets

Encore Tickets offers theatre, attraction and event tickets for London’s vibrant live entertainment and arts. Encore is the UK’s leading independent ticket provider and has sold more than 30 million tickets to theatre fans from over 170 countries. It is an official ticketing partner for more than 160 theatres, shows and attractions in London, helping them sell over £1bn of tickets since launch. Based in London and staffed by 150 theatre and live experience fans, Encore has nearly 20 years of expertise helping Londoners and tourists enjoy the best of the city’s entertainment and culture.

Encore Tickets: www.encoretickets.co.uk

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