How the Performing Arts Changed Me with VHS Senior Fiona Coffey

The Performing Arts is a powerful educational tool that helps students learn skills that will stay with them their entire lives.  Over the next few months, I will be sitting down with students in the performing arts and learning from them how their lives have improved through there experiences in the Performing Arts.


Today I talked with Fiona Coffey, a senior at VHS and a student in both VIPA’s internship and apprenticeship programs.  “If I had never been in the performing arts, I would a lot different than I am today,” Coffey says.  “I feel as though I would be a lot more introverted and not have a lot of friends because I find it hard to talk to people.”  Fiona’s experience becoming more comfortable with communicating is one of the biggest assets of a performing arts education.  Getting out of your comfort zone, talking with other people, and putting it all on the line when you’re onstage makes doing group projects in college, presenting proposals in corporate jobs, or meeting new people in social situations feel less daunting.  “I also wouldn’t be as confident going to college, and wouldn’t know what I wanted to do.”  Coffey will be attending Florida Southern College in Lakeland where she will study Technical Theatre and Education.

Another important skill Fiona has learned is creativity.  “I have tons of crazy ideas, and people listen to them in theatre.” More and more companies and universities are talking about the importance of creativity and innovation in the workplace.  In the fast-paced 21st century world, creativity allows companies to keep up with the ever-changing depends.  To do this, they look for people who are willing to think outside the box, bringing new ideas to the table, and thrive on meeting challenges [1]. The important thing to note about creativity in this context is that it isn’t creativity for creativity’s sake, but learning how to think outside the box within a given framework that becomes an extremely valuable asset in the workplace.  This is just the type of creativity that performing arts teach- how to take your own thoughts and make it work with those of a playwright, director, designers, and other members of the creative team.


This year, Fiona is taking her skills to new levels by both performing in the VHS production of The Great Gatsby and directing a one-act play for the state festival.  Fiona says while she loves acting, technical theatre is where she sees her career heading, and she also loves working in the box office where she can interact with patrons.

[1] From upper management to entry-level employees are being asked to bring creativity to a business, helping the company stay on the pulse of society.