It is with much sadness that I feel the need to write this note espousing the importance of The Arts in a society. Although I am distraught by my Government’s attempt to balance a budget by once again attacking education, I am even more disappointed with the way in which many institutions have decided to deal with those budget cuts. For this reason, the prestigious Mount Royal University in Calgary has made a decision to suspend classes in Theatre Performance, Technical Theatre, and Jazz Music. Classes in classical music were eliminated last year.
The Arts is what makes us most complete, as a people, and is as essential as math and history.
Living in rural Alberta and with no drama program in our local school, my physically talented son has always played the role of athlete. Any random chance that he had to be on the stage, he relished, and continually asked for lead roles. This fall, he could go off and study Physical Education in University or push himself to play sport at that level, but as grade 12 comes to a close and at 18 years of age, he wants to give theatre arts a go. This winter and spring he has spent the bulk of his free time dedicated to performing and creating and currently sits on the wait list at Mount Royal University in Performing Arts. He has auditioned for other programs and is waiting to hear how they will be handling their budget cuts.
As a researcher of child development, I know the overwhelming evidence that demonstrates a multitude of benefits that unfold from the simple act of children being engaged in fine arts and hope that Mount Royal University and others will reconsider their decision to cut these vital programs.