Theatre experience breaks gender stereotype

By LAURA-LEITH PETTIGREW

The relationship between men and musical theatre carries a lot of stigma.

Young girls are pushed towards any musical activity as gender appropriate whereas boys are steered away from anything seen as feminine or non-masculine.

Despite living in the modern world of stay-at-home-dads and female CEOs masculine stereotypes stand strong.

Musical lover Dan Omeally bagged the role of Prince Eric in his school production of The Little Mermaid and said he has experienced the stigma first hand.

“The main challenge for me is facing the social stigma of being a guy doing a musical, especially The Little Mermaid,” Mr Omeally said.

“I’ve already gotten into some awkward conversations such as ‘why are you doing the musical?’ accompanied by some weird looks.

“I used to say, ‘I was forced into it’.”

But Mr Omeally said he has now changed the way he responds to such questions.

“I’ve learnt embracing it is more healthy for my self-esteem rather than shaming myself in every conversation like this,” he said.

Maroochydore State High School head of creative industries Steve White said there is a whole host of reasons why students should be involved in school musicals, including goal setting, self-esteem, confidence, memory, teamwork and getting along with others.

Dan said being a part of school musicals have helped him grow as a person.

“All musicals push me out of my comfort zone, but The Little Mermaid is definitely something special,” Dan said.

“It’s taught me to be a better person by doing just that – continually pushing myself out of my comfort zone to achieve my goals.”

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