In addition to building social and communication skills overall, involvement in drama courses and performance has been shown to improve students' self-esteem as well as their confidence in their academic abilities. (American Alliance for Theatre and Education) At Kearney Public Schools, our students are involved in the arts as early as elementary school.
Elementary students experience live theater every year at the Merryman Performing Arts Center thanks to the Morris Matinee Series sponsored by Scott D. and Rochelle Morris. Students from across the district experience exciting shows each year from trained trick-performing pooches to downhome country bands.
Our middle school students participate in Crane River Theater’s “Arts in the Middle” program which is designed to give middle school students the tools and skills necessary to produce full theatrical productions and incorporate theatre, music, and dance into the school curriculum. These are year-long instructional events, where Crane River Theater works directly in the classroom at Sunrise and Horizon Middle Schools. By providing access to professional artistic directors and choreographers, students are given the knowledge to grow and enhance their abilities to collaborate, communicate, and create. The students perform free for all the elementary students and again for the public in the evening.
At KHS, our students win state and national awards. The high school performs one play and one musical each year in the KHS Concert Hall & theater. Past plays include Footloose, Into the Woods, I Hate Shakespeare, The Laramie Project, the Great Gatsby, Tuck Everlasting, and The Adams Family. KPS students may be inducted in the KHS Thespians group, an international society dedicated to the arts and specifically theatre. Our high school students are often exposed to numerous performances at the Merryman Performing Arts Center where they view or take part in professional performances. Recently, over 400 area high school students saw My Antonio at the Merryman.