Lights, Camera, Action:
The Importance of Drama in the Curriculum

By: Lori O'Keefe
Roncalli Central High School
Port Saunders, NF

Lights, camera, action! For many years drama has been an important part of the curriculum in schools across Canada. Drama is an exciting and beneficial way for students to express themselves. However, in rural areas, such as Port Saunders, Newfoundland, the students haven't been given this opportunity due to the lack of a drama program at the local high school. Until now.


For the first time ever in the history of the school a theatre arts program is being offered to the students at Roncalli Central High, Port Saunders. For these students and the staff, they have realized the benefits and importance of drama.

With the introduction of a theatre arts course the students at Roncalli are becoming actively involved and taking a strong interest in drama. On May 11th, six students from the school will attend the provincial drama festival in St. John's. The school has never before attended and it is the first time since 1994 that the school has had a drama team. Although they will be getting a trip to St. John's, that's not the only thing of importance to the students in this group.

Dawn Beaudoin, a member of the drama team and a level two student at Roncalli says, "drama has been an awesome way for me to focus my energy and creativity. Other subjects don't let you express yourself the way the theatre arts course does." She also added that, "being a member of the drama team combines the importance of study, dedication, team work and creativity."

Beaudoin's fellow drama team member and level one student at the school, Meriah Rankin, agreed that theatre arts helps you to express yourself but it does more than that, "I'm not really interested in sports so finally there is something else for people like me to do. I used to be terrified of getting up in front of class and speaking but now if I have to get up and talk I feel no nervousness at all."

Schools encourage athletes, mathematicians, and scientists, but what about the poets, songwriters, and actors? This question is exactly what theatre arts teacher Mrs. Rosalind Rankin is asking, "Schools do a great job in encouraging students in math, and science. But where are our play writers, poets, artists, and actors going to come from if we don't offer them something?" Mrs. Rankin, who is also the drama team coach, commented that the students in her theatre arts class no longer have any obvious fear of public speaking, they have found a greater sense of self confidence.

The government has also initiated the introduction of mandatory classes in arts. Students and teachers aren't exactly sure what this will mean for drama across the province but the students and staff are excited about this idea; they hope it means another year of drama at Roncalli High. Beaudoin is also antcipating that her final year of high school will include drama, "I believe that drama should become a permanent part of our school and every school . You only need to look at the difference that's been seen in our school to see that drama is just as important in the curriculum as any other course."