Seven Reasons Why Theatre Programs Are Good For Kids

Alongside the many benefits of growing up in a digital world, there are also some tangible downsides. Young people spend less time being physically active, less time outdoors, less physical time with friends, less time reading, and less time engaged in creative hobbies. The algorithms of our social media echo chambers can also detract from a young person’s exposure to multiple viewpoints, resulting in fewer opportunities to develop compassion or empathy. So how can parents offer some non-digital balance into our kids’ development? One simple solution to all of those things, is theatre classes.

Theatre is astonishingly, shockingly, amazingly beneficial for kids. Here are seven reasons why.

  1. Theatre Improves Reading Skills

Did you know that theatre programs improve reading skills? In theatre classes, participants have to interact deeply with the text. It is both a visual and a kinesthetic way of developing literary comprehension, as well as abilities to predict outcomes, assess characters, understand plot, motive, and denouement, and to strategically bring these concepts to life. This hones high-level literacy skills in kids of all ages. Theatre students learn to understand these concepts with enough intricacy to bring them from the page to the stage. It makes them better readers, and better thinkers.

  1. Theatre Improves Creativity

It might be more well known that theatre programs help build creativity and imagination. Kids who participate in theatre learn to think outside the box, and become quick and competent at divergent thinking, which is increasingly considered an essential skill in many careers. Through creative problem solving, improvising, and adapting to live-audiences, youth in theatre develop a balance of right-brain/left-brain thinking which contributes to growing a healthy, happy mind.

  1. Theatre Improves Communication

Theatre is fundamentally collaborative on many expanding levels: amongst the cast, between the cast and crew, and between the cast, crew, and audience. There is a democratic component to creating a work of art as an ensemble, and then recreating it in real time, day after day, with live audiences. It is a dynamic, reactive process that involves flexibility on top of preparation and rehearsals. Theatre kids develop positive communication techniques through this collaborative process, and learn life-long skills in building consensus, and in respectful group behaviour. Theatre brings team-building to a different level, and provides a path towards meaningful communication.

  1. Theatre Teaches Empathy

Similarly, theatre programs elicit the experience of empathy. Kids have to see the viewpoint of their own character, and to a certain extent, all the characters in the play. For young people, this might involve imagining yourself in a position you have never personally experienced, and ‘trying on’ what it would feel like. It is the rare opportunity to be someone else and experience their perspective, and an invaluable opportunity to learn empathy in a safe and playful environment. 

  1. Theatre is Physical

Most of us spend way too much time on screens these days, but theatre classes offer an incentive for kids to interact physically in a real space. Theatre uses both body and mind, movement and thinking. It is physically active and can be very cardiovascular, especially musical theatre, dancing, stage combat, or clowning. It is a great way for kids who don’t tend towards sports to engage in a physical activity, and theatre classes can be a useful antidote to the lure of screens for any kids, regardless of athletic inclinations.

  1. Theatre Boosts Self Confidence

One of the well documented benefits of theatre programs for youth is how much they contribute to self esteem. This has been studied both in and out of schools, and research consistently shows that theatre programs promote confidence and positive self perception. It provides a playful and organically therapeutic outlet for participants to express themselves, explore identity, play games, and free-style in ways that expand their self-awareness, their range, and their understanding of their own capabilities and self-worth. Theatre helps kids feel good about themselves.

  1. Theatre Provides Community

One of the things many theatre kids mention is the sense of social belonging they get from their theatre community. Maybe because theatre encourages participants to come out of their shells, or maybe because participants get to know each other so well through teamwork and rehearsals, theatre kids tend to feel a sense of camaraderie and acceptance within their troupes. Theatre programs are often at the centre of lasting friendships, and a welcome feeling of being understood and accepted.

Ultimately these benefits are only footnotes to anyone’s experience of belonging to a youth musical theatre troupe. It is an immersive experience that gives participants a sense of deep satisfaction and accomplishment, a sense of enthusiasm and excitement around their efforts and successes, and a giddy, heady feeling of fun. Participating in a musical theatre program is great in so many ways, but really kids join for the joy of it. Underneath everything else, it’s simply a lot of fun.
For amazing theatre classes for youth of all ages, join TES Theatre Company and enjoy the benefits while experiencing the fun.

Five Reasons For A Cabaret

Every year, we launch our TES Theatre season with our Fall Cabaret. Why do we start this way? Why not begin with an actual play? There are several reasons we choose to open our season with a cabaret. Here are five of them.


The cabaret gives the participants the opportunity to choose their own material. The kids decide what they want to work on and present to their peers, their instructors, and to the audience of family and friends, as well as total strangers. This means that the students have a unique opportunity to choose the impression they want to create. First impressions are lasting impressions, and this puts the participants at the helm for crafting their own introductions. The same way we invite students to share their own names and pronouns, we invite them to self-present in whatever ways they wish at the Cabaret. Theatre is a unique space for that kind of safe, playful exploration, creativity and inner reflection. Opening with a cabaret supports our mission of inclusivity and acceptance, and provides a fun and judgement-free opportunity for kids to be whoever they want to be.


The cabaret is an eclectic series of short acts. Kids can explore their range by workshopping a hilarious song for one act, and a dramatic monologue for another. The students learn skills from each other’s abilities, but also learn empathy and compassion from each other’s choices. They expand their range of knowledge through each others’ selections. Even if a participant focuses on pop songs for their own set, they get to experience Shakespeare or Florence Price through someone else’s. The cabaret represents TES Theatre’s diverse range not just of skills, but of stories, priorities, and life experiences. The range is not just insightful, of course, but entertaining–for participants and audiences alike. No matter what kind of theatre you prefer, the cabaret will have it all. 


The cabaret involves all of TES Theatre’s programs, from preschoolers to teens. This means that participants of very different ages get to work together. What we notice is that the older kids behave in a mentoring way when the younger ones are present. They take on a more nurturing, guiding role, and tone down their own teenage behaviour as is appropriate. And the younger kids learn so much from the older ones: skills, but also focus, determination, repetition, and mature reflection. Our plays rarely cross over the age boundaries this way, so the cabaret presents a singular opportunity to make the most of the multi-age potential. It’s a heartwarming thing to observe.


Some of the cabaret numbers are group acts, and some are solos. This means that groups of friends or kids who share an interest can work on an act together. This experience provides benefits of teamwork and camaraderie from group rehearsals and bringing a shared vision to life. It also means that kids can work on solo numbers, showcasing their individual abilities at ballet, violin, vocals, or hip-hop. Kids learn communication skills through a group act–decision-making, consensus, respectful contributions, listening–and they learn really different skills through solo acts–practice, spotlight, commitment, work ethic. The cabaret is a great way to provide students with both experiences.


Perhaps most importantly, the cabaret gives the kids the rare opportunity to do exactly what they want without major concessions or compromise. In a full play, the students have to all agree on which one, which is a lengthy process that demands a high level of communication, patience, and maturity. But for the cabaret, everyone can simply do what they want (within reason). Students can choose acts that delight, excite, and inspire them. They can sing songs from their favourite artists or plays. They can tap-dance if that is their passion, or tell jokes, or peform their own composition on the guitar. Almost anything goes. And this is the main reason we launch the year with a cabaret. We love to see the students get so much joy from working on their own numbers. We are founded on democratic principles, and the cabaret is a truly democratic approach to theatre. It showcases not just skills, but the students’ wide range of joys and passions.

Our Fall Cabaret is November 18 and 19, at TES Theatre. Join us! Come share in our delight over the students’ range of choices. Come to the cabaret.

Tickets available HERE

Ten Ways TES Theatre Makes Homeschooling Easier

One of the challenges of homeschooling can be finding local activities that are as enjoyable as they are educational, that are affordable, and that understand and accommodate the home learning life. You want activities that support your home learning goals, that foster creative thinking and exploration, and that welcome and respect your child as a unique individual with their own capacity to contribute meaningfully to their personal education.

Luckily, theatre programs such as TES Theatre Company can provide the perfect fit that BC homeschooling families are looking for. Whether you are a registered homeschooler, attend a blended program in the Vancouver Lower Mainland, or are enrolled with an Online Learning Program, TES Theatre makes home learning easy in so many ways. For example, did you know that you can cover a lot of BC curriculum learning outcomes through theatre classes? 

Here are ten tips for how TES Theatre can help you with your home learning goals.

1. Documentation for Learning Plans

If you are enrolled with an OL (an Online Learning Program, or an institution previously identified as a “DL” or distributed learning program), you probably have to provide documentation for some of your child’s learning activities. You might already be in the habit of compiling work samples, photographs, videos, teacher reports, class descriptions, or other artifacts of your child’s education. TES Theatre makes this easy by providing photographs and video clips of the classes and productions, as well as descriptions of what happens in each program. This makes it really simple to just transfer documents to your learning folder, or print evidence for your learning plan conference portfolio. 

2. Allotment Funding

Some OL Programs offer allotment funding to help pay for educational items or classes. Since almost all of TES Theatre’s students are home learners, we have long standing relationships with most OLs. We can invoice them directly so that you can use your allotment funds towards the classes without any hassle. TES Theatre makes this process as easy and seamless as possible. If you find navigating the SRF forms to be a nuisance, we can help. We know how home learning works and we can save you the headache of figuring out all the red tape.

3. Curriculum for K – 8

One of the reasons OL funds are easily applied towards TES Theatre classes is that our curriculum matches BC’s learning outcomes. Our classes meet all of the Big Ideas, Content, and Curricular Competencies as described by the British Columbia Arts Education Curriculum. In the younger grades, all of our programs provide a solid foundation in theatre arts. Students can choose to focus on any aspect of theatre they find inspiring, including:

  • Drama
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Production
  • Stagecraft

Participants can meet their schooling needs through any of these disciplines. Many of our younger students attend TES Theatre to complete their arts requirements for elementary school or middle school.

4. High School Credits

At the older high school level, from grades 10 – 12, our programs can be used for more specific course credits. TES Theatre is an effortless fit for the content and curriculum of every secondary school course in any of the following:

  • Drama
  • Theatre Company
  • Theatre Production
  • Creative Writing
  • Theatre History
  • Musical Theatre
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Choreography

Or almost any arts subject, as described by BC’s Arts Education High School Curriculum. Even students who attend a regular brick & mortar school can cross-enroll for a handful of arts/theatre classes. While TES Theatre does not have a certified high school teacher, students can sometimes provide sufficient documentation to their own teacher to assess the work being done and the accomplishments the student has achieved. If the student already attends an OL such as IDEAS, this is generally seamless.

5. Multidisciplinary Learning

While it might be obvious that a theatre program would provide the educational expectations of theatre and arts courses, there are other subjects that students can cover through theatre as well. Theatre is extremely multidisciplinary! Through TES Theatre, students have studied and/or contributed to the requirements for courses in huge range of subjects, including:

  • P.E.
  • English Literature
  • History
  • Shakespeare
  • Shop
  • Sewing
  • Marketing
  • Communications
  • ADST
  • Social Studies
  • Careers
  • Capstone Project

While it might be challenging (but not impossible) to get a full course in something like ADST (applied design, skills & technologies) or Social Studies through TES Theatre, the program is diverse and multifaceted enough that components of it can be applied to almost any course, since students can choose to focus on any aspect of the program that they find exciting and inspiring.

6. Life Skills Learning

As well as covering school curriculum, theatre students learn a lot of life skills that are harder to quantify. So much goes into creating a stage play, and participants learn from all of it. If you are an unschooler, or an eclectic homelearner, you will recognize how building a set or timing a soundtrack involves numeracy; how learning about your character involves social studies; or how exploring a script involves literacy. Learning happens all the time, anywhere and everywhere, but there is a high concentration of learning that happens at TES Theatre. The students are involved in every aspect of putting on a play, and come away knowing all sorts of things they didn’t know they were going to learn.

7. Creativity in Kids & Teens

It might seem self-evident that theatre is great for channeling creativity. This is true in lots of obvious ways involving performing, painting sets, and interpreting scripts, but there is also a lot of creativity in adapting the productions to our own space, our niche audience, our young demographic. There is creativity in costuming an entire period drama within a budget, and in mounting a large scale broadway musical with a very small ensemble. When the teen group wanted to tackle The Rocky Horror Picture Show, they had to get really creative about how to make it appropriate for an all-ages audience. The creativity that being part of a theatre troupe inspires is as impressive as it is unlimited. This is the kind of learning that is gold for homeschooling families, and because it emanates from TES Theatre’s inspiring youth-led approach, it is  impossible to replicate in a conventional school.

8. Democracy & Communication

There are a lot of seriously philosophical discussions at TES Theatre! The kids choose the plays they want to work on as a group, which means participants get to pitch their ideas and try to communicate their visions so that their own excitement over a particular play gains traction amongst the group. The students have to collaborate on decisions through both democratic and consensus-building processes. This level of engagement supports youth in becoming involved citizens with a sense of agency in the broader community. It engenders self-confidence as well as respect for fellow citizens and respectful behaviour towards those with opposing views. For many families, this is what home learning is all about.

9. Ethics, Diversity, & Safe Space

The discussions at TES Theatre sometimes broach philosophical problem-solving at an ontological level, and this can get complicated! There are issues of representation that come up in theatre, issues of gender, culture, diversity, and history. Sometimes the kids choose a play with outdated stereotypes, or questionable representations, and have to figure out how to negotiate with the subject matter in ways that are relevant, respectful, and contribute positively to the conversation without extending the lifespan of negative cliche or harmful constructs. This can be very tricky, and even when we decide to shelve a play because we can’t find the right balance, the discussions are always invaluable. The kids engage in thoughtful dialogue worthy of University seminars. For home learners of all kinds, from curriculum-followers to unschoolers, this kind of enriched, analytical-yet-empathetic exercise results in the deep affective/ethical learning that home education is all about. 

10. Socializing for Home Learners

Maybe the biggest concern about homeschooling is socializing: how will the kids make friends. This is equally true for enrolled home learners, online learners, and registered homeschoolers. The fear of social isolation is one of the misgivings that holds people back from choosing to homeschool. But fear not! One of the best aspects of TES Theatre is community. The kids make friends. Theatre has enormous potential to create the kind of safe space where youth feel comfortable to build lasting friendships, through ice breaker activities, warm ups, theatre games, and the kind of camaraderie that naturally evolves from being part of a team. TES Theatre prioritizes respect and safety, embraces diversity, and is committed to maintaining the kind of healthy social environment where kids thrive. Whether your child is shy, socially awkward, or has had a hard time fitting in somewhere else, they will have an entirely different experience at TES Theatre. TES Theatre is friendly, welcoming, and inviting. If you have any concerns about your home learning kids’ socialization, join TES Theatre and they will make friends. 

There are many ways to be a home learner, and people choose to homeschool for many reasons. But no matter why or how you approach it, TES Theatre is great for home learning. Not only do the participants have a great time learning, but it takes the pressure off the families in terms of paperwork, curriculum, and socializing. Homeschooling can be hard, but TES Theatre makes it easier: more exciting and enjoyable for the kids, and easier for the parents. 
Are you a home learner? Contact us to learn more!

Theatre Education

Drama! Theatre Production! Creative Writing! History! Shakespeare! Dance!

If you thought these were school courses, you would be right. But these are also subjects that BC students can explore through TES Theatre’s Workshops.

Teachers and educators can use our educational workshops for field trips, either in person on Fridays to get out of the classroom in Vancouver, or online on Wednesdays for virtual excursions. If your school is far away, you can skip the carpooling or school buses by accessing our online workshops. Both options are active and engaging: students will not be bored!

Home schooling families can take advantage of one or two or as many workshops as they like to meet curriculum requirements or just to enjoy a rewarding and creative day socializing with other kids. The workshops are welcoming and friendly: even the shyest newcomers end up participating with enthusiasm. Homeschooling and home learning families, whether registered under the home schooling act, or enrolled with a DL/OL, can pick and choose which topics they would most enjoy.

Whether you’re a certified teacher, a student, or a home learning parent, we will provide you with the printed curriculum and learning outcomes for each of our workshops. If you are enrolled (or cross-enrolled) with a DL/OL, you can use this as part of your documentation.

Theatre is well known to be supportive of youth mental health. It provides a perfect setting for the kind of playful make-believe that enables younger kids to explore feelings and motivations, to gain insight into themselves and others. Theatre provides a unique outlet for teens to explore identity, the human condition, history, psychology, and art through both a personal and social lens. Theatre is therapy for youth of all ages.

But theatre is also a seamless and abundant gateway for education. Many of our core curriculum learning outcomes are easily achieved through theatre. Our workshops provide a gratifying path for meeting learning needs and achieving educational goals.

So whether you’re a student, a parent, or a teacher / tutor / educator, check out TES Theatre’s WORKSHOPS for a creative and fun approach to achieving educational outcomes.


TES Theatre is delighted to introduce individual WORKSHOPS to our regular offerings. Each of these single topic Workshops can be taken on its own, or as part of a package. Some are in person, and some are online. You can mix and match and attend exactly and only the ones that interest you.

All of our Workshops are informative and educational. Some, such as Shakespeare in Action, and The History of Musical Theatre, can be applied towards most schools’ learning outcomes. If you attend a DL or OL, or if you are in any kind of home learning program, you might be able to use allotment funding to cover the cost. Or if you are a homeschooler, or a full-time home learner with a DL/OL, you can likely use these workshops towards your portfolio.

Some of our workshops fit into other course or curriculum expectations, such as physical & health education. Consider Partner & Dance Lifts, Broadway Choreography, or Stage Combat. Some fit into other course descriptions such as drama, careers, arts, english, or creative writing: Monologues, Auditioning, Costume & Set Design, Clowning, Improv, and Writing for the Stage.

On top of being educational, these workshops are incredibly fun. Even the more academic sounding ones, like History, or Monologues, are lively and animated. There will be more participation and “doing” than passive listening. Students of all ages will be actively taking part in these workshops, learning through hands-on engagement, games, and exercises. No dull moments here!

TES Theatre’s Workshops provide a low barrier way to get a taste of TES Theatre without any further commitment, and also offer current students a chance to dive deep into favourite topics. Sign up with some friends for a really fun, theatre based activity. You will love these workshops.

Visit our WORKSHOPS PAGE to learn more.

Minis to Teens

One of the delights of a youth theatre company is witnessing people grow from preschooler to young adult.

Some of our teens have been with us since they were tiny. Some of them have even been in the same play twice, many years apart. The first time as a junior participant, on stage briefly for a single number, and then years later, able to take on a significant role and engage with the material in a more mature and and nuanced way, maybe even from a position of leadership.

Growth is magical. We get to see young people grow up in front of our eyes. We get to marvel at the emergence of artistic and creative potential alongside the emergence of brain growth and personal individuation.

Theatre is a perfect setting for growth, as it promotes self expression, communication, and the empathy inherent in being someone else, or revealing other sides of oneself. The act of production, too, invites growth as students learn to negotiate, to share, to promote their own ideas with passion, but listen to others’ ideas with respect.

We call TES Theatre “The Emerging Stage” for a reason. Supporting emergence is what we’re all about. The emergence of creativity, or artists, of individuals, and of community.

We are honoured to have so many young people grow up with TES Theatre.

#youththeatre #vancouveryouth #kidsmusicaltheatre #homelearning


Guest post from aTES Theatre parent:

My child (11) has been in love with TES from her very first day of summer camp 2 years ago. It wasn’t easy to convince her to try it. At the last moment she was having cold feet and wondering if she should back out. She’s often felt shy about new people and new situations. Always unschooled, she participates reluctantly in most organized programming and especially resists anything that smacks of coercion. (Star chart for “good” behaviour? No thank you!). On the first day of TES camp she came out beaming, holding hands with a new friend: “Mom, I loved it! You can eat when you need to! There are gender neutral bathrooms! We all shared our pronouns! And we get to invent our own characters!”

There’s nothing quite like helping to shape a space, to make us feel that we truly belong there. Over the last two years in TES, my child has been part of creating a safe, constructive, and creative space, where the teachers and students work respectfully and collectively to lift each other up and make beautiful works of art. All week she can’t wait for Mondays and Fridays, when she jumps out of bed, excited for the day at TES. She has learned about music, dancing, democracy, trust, memorization, history, staging, choreography, Shakespeare, planning, self regulation, mutual respect, and how to work collectively with diverse groups of people. TES has also been a safe place to explore gender, sexuality and friendship beyond our home. Her joy and personal growth at TES have spilled over into our family life and into my own growth as a parent. Participating in TES has been life-changing for all of us.

Thank you!

The Magic Happens

What happens when kids get the opportunity to mount shows that excite them? That mean something to them? What do you get when you support young people in producing the theatre that inspires them?

Magic happens.

At TES Theatre Company we provide skill-building support, mentorship, and years of cumulative experience in both professional theatre skills and collaborative education to facilitate the making of magic. Young people have their own unique and important visions, and their own unique and important contributions. We provide the opportunity and we foster the process.

And we watch the magic happen on stage.

And we watch as each participant gains confidence in their abilities, their voice, and their own ability to make magic happen.

Emerging Artists / Emerging Stages

Have you ever wondered what the TES in TES Theatre actually stands for? It stands for The Emerging Stage.

We chose this name in part to honour the acronym in TES Society, the “Transforming Education Society”, our ongoing parent/partner whose values of collaborative education we espouse. But when we branched out as a theatre company, we needed to differentiate our focus if not our values.

The focus of TES Theatre Company is youth. Young people who are in various stages of finding their own voices and visions as artists. Young people who are still emerging in their creativity, their skills, their stories, and their access to self-expression. Young people who need a welcoming space where they are valued as artists, where their contributions are taken seriously, and where their potential can emerge.

TES Theatre Company is not typical kids theatre classes. TES Theatre Company is a youth theatre company, a collaborative model of theatrical production where the young people create their own work, and bring their own visions to the stage. TES Theatre Company supports emerging artists, at all stages of growth, in all areas of theatre expression. We are an actual theatre troupe for young people, creating plays by and for youth.

The Emerging Stage honours both emergence and stages, all definitions of both those words. Our teachers and mentors are highly skilled at bringing out the best in youth of all ages, fostering a cooperative environment that encourages collaboration and participation, respect, social connections, and creative emergence. TES Theatre is a community, a safe and inclusive social space where all participants can be their true selves.

TES stands for The Emerging Stage. Come check out our classes or camps and you will see why we stand out. We are not just classes, we are a youth theatre company where young people thrive.

Finding the Best Camps

It can be hard to find the best camp for your kids.

You want a camp that will be dynamic, where your kids will get exercise and physical activity. You want them to move around and have a productive outlet for their exuberance and energy.

You want a camp that inspires creativity, that challenges your kids to thrive and be their best. You want a camp that is social, where your kids can make friends and ongoing connections with kids their age, where they can share their interests and ideas in a friendly and welcoming environment.

You want a camp that is affordable, accessible, and inclusive. You want a camp that is so much fun that your kids will be eager to attend every day, a camp they will talk about for weeks or months after it’s over, and look forward to attending again next year.

There are many camps for kids in Vancouver, but few are as engaging and inspiring as TES Theatre. If you are looking for a stand out, one-of-a-kind camp experience for Spring Break or Summer, TES Theatre has a camp for you. For ages 5 and up, this is the camp you’ve been searching for.