Wednesday, July 28, 2010

First Stage And EQ

First Stage Academy Registration Now Open

By Russ Bickerstaff
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The First Stage Children’s Theatre has recently announced that it has opened registration for school year sessions is now open. Classes are available for fall, winter and spring sessions as well as one-week spring break programs.

More specific info on the programs can be found at the theatre academy’s web page at First Stage.

The press release that announced the opening of registration happened to mention some rather interesting research—evidently a 2009 study found that participating in the academy had a positive impact on the students’ EQ or “Emotional Intelligence,” score. I have a tendency to scoff at formalized tests for that sort of thing. When one analyzes the fundamentals of an I.Q. test, for instance, one realizes that all an I.Q. score really measures is how well someone did on an I.Q. test. It only measures certain kinds of pattern recognition, which are only a tiny fraction of what we laughingly refer to as human intelligence.

E.Q. is different, though. E.Q has roots that go back to Darwin, who recognized the importance of emotional expression in the survival of a species. Without getting too far into it, E.Q. measures a person’s ability to identify emotions within and without. There are various theories and models used to measure E.Q., but it has been generally recognized that those better capable of understanding the emotional end of things tend to have a better time coping with life, careers, interpersonal relationships and such than those of us with lower E.Q. scores. And as emotional awareness of one’s self and one’s co-workers can help one’s career in a very positive direction, it stands to reason that those with higher E.Q.’s are more likely to be successful.

And while this is all very abstract and theoretical, First Stage has identified a rather big selling point for not only it’s theatre training program, but theatre education in general. Administrators may see this as a warning--cut funding from theatre programs at the risk of possibly taking away a tool that could help your students out in the future professionally. There’s a certain kind of social connection that comes from the stage. It’s really difficult to put that kind of connection in numbers, but E.Q. is something that takes a step towards quantifying the commercial applications of stage experience beyond the theatre.

Registration is available online at www.FirstStage.org/theateracademy. For further questions, please call (414) 267-2970 or emailacademy@firststage.org

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