The Impact of Theatre

Jacob Rent Musical

Jacob performing with the ensemble cast in RENT.

From the time that I was very young I always had a flair for the dramatic.

I remember acting out scenes from Disney movies and reciting the lines word-for-word.  My first play was a production of A Christmas Carol at my church when I was nine years old, and ever since then I have had an insatiable urge to be performing on stage.

But when I made the decision to become a Theatre Major at Dominican, I did not know the incredible impact that decision would have on my life and on my outlook on the world.  Reflecting on the past four years, I have learned so much more than just how to sing and how to act and how to create a realistic character onstage: I have learned that theatre can be an incredibly powerful tool in so many ways.

Through theatre we can educate people about various social issues, and bring light to the many social inequities in our world.  A perfect example of this is the musical RENT, which I had the pleasure of performing in my junior year here.  RENT deals with a group of people in the 90’s struggling against AIDS, housing discrimination, homophobia, and other such issues that are still so prevalent in our society.  RENT is just one of the many pieces of theatre that challenges us to think about how we can really participate in addressing these social issues, and it is a perfect example of the tremendous power that theatre can have.

Through theatre we can give people a creative outlet when they would otherwise not have access to one.  I believe that the arts should be an essential part of any curriculum in the primary school grades, but so often they are the first thing to be cut when there are budget restrictions.  It is such a special thing when we are able to share theatre with children and make it a part of their learning experience.

I have been lucky enough to be a part of two theatre productions at Dominican where we held "School-Bus Shows" so that children from local schools could come and view the performances during the school day, and then go back and discuss what they had learned.  These types of opportunities often inspire children to pursue theatre in their own lives, and give them a creative outlet with which to express themselves.

Through theatre we are able to build connections with each other, bridging the gap between people that come from all walks of life.  In my experiences participating in Dominican’s theatre program I have been able to meet and work with a wide variety of people from various backgrounds, and I have been exposed to an immensely perse community of inpiduals.  It is through all of these experiences that my love of theatre has grown, and through which I have gained a greater understand of the way that theatre can have a tremendously positive impact on the world.