Theater Education Month Scores Kevin Kline as Spokesperson

The award-winning actor, who has an Oscar and two Tonys to his name, has been acting since high school—making the mission of Theatre in Our Schools Month one that’s close to his heart.

The librarians may have Sarah Jessica Parker in their corner, but the theater folks aren’t doing too bad with Kevin Kline offering his support.

The star may be best-known for his film roles (specifically his Oscar-winning turn in 1988’s A Fish Called Wanda), but the Juilliard-trained thespian also has had a well-regarded Broadway career, with multiple Tony Award wins and a spot in the American Theatre Hall of Fame. And he’s been acting since he was in high school.

That makes him a perfect choice for spokesperson for the 2017 edition of Theatre in Our Schools Month, an annual event sponsored by three associations: the American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE), the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), and the International Thespian Society (ITS). The event is tied to Arts Advocacy Day, which takes place March 20-21 this year.

Kline, who has both film and stage roles coming up—in March, he’ll be in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast remake; in April, he’ll take on Present Laughter on Broadway—says in a video that he’s supporting the campaign in an effort to highlight a flesh-and-blood endeavor that teaches some important real-world skills that can get lost in the digital era.

“I think one’s capacity to use words, to express one’s self, is being diminished,” Kline said in the clip. “And that’s what theater is about—it’s the art of rhetoric, of persuasion, of communication. And that’s what theater teaches you.”

In a news release [PDF], EdTA Executive Director Julie Cohen Theobald spoke to the way that theater tends to benefit students in other academic endeavors—something backed up by research. Despite this, theater often gets short shrift in academic settings.

“That is why raising awareness and support is important,” she notes.

Those interested can learn more about the campaign, which gets going in March, at the EdTA website.

(Christopher Adams/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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