I spent the better part of last week figuring out the copyright rules for YouTube. Although the rules are quite complicated, they're enforced in a sort of willy nilly way making things all the more frustrating for the average user.
As you might guess, we did not have a class about social media in theatre school. We had classes in directing, acting, stage combat and mask making. We learned how to hang lights, sew costumes, analyze a play, and keep everyone organized. We did not learn how to Tweet, update our Facebook statuses, and edit promotional videos in the hopes that they go viral.
Of course, knowledge is fluid and an awful lot has changed in the past few years both in how to manage social media for a non-profit and in how to manage it for the average person. Throw in a sizeable amount of homework and the usual trials and tribulations of being a teenager, and you really have yourself a difficult situation.
While social media certainly has its place, one of the things I think our families cherish about the Children's Theatre of Western Springs is that this environment encourages students to be social in person. Coming to a class or attending a performance forces students to unplug, to engage in meaningful face to face time, and to stop and really enjoy their lives rather than focusing on their next status update.
At our annual Orientation Meeting last Saturday, one of our students gave a speech about his time at CTWS. He mentioned all of the skills he'd learned over the years, but the thing he said he cherishes most about theatre is the circle of friends he's made. Those friends...the flesh and blood friends...are the ones that matter the most. What a joy it is to help kids make those connections.
For more information on classes and other opportunities at the Children's Theatre of Western Springs, call 708-246-4043 or visit www.theatreofwesternsprings.com