By Shilpa Bapna
In the spacious playground of a school, a stage is set. A few minutes pass by and children begin acting out skits they have learned over the weeks in their acting lessons, an important part of their theatre and drama workshop. They pick up props, dress up like adults and act out family stories. They tell you stories of childhood, adolescence, adulthood, the animal world and stories of the world under the sea and you are wowed. They make you laugh, cry and take you on an emotional roller coaster ride. They enthrall you with their speech, charm you with their acting and mesmerize you with their singing. You suddenly find yourself swept away with the amazing acts of young actors. The scintillating performances by kids who barely knew a thing or two about acting a few weeks ago leaves you asking for more.
The joyful expressions on their faces are due to a creatively satisfying experience. Theatre and drama is not only about dressing up, learning lines, acting and being on stage. It is also about a lot more.
One of the finest forms of art, theatre and drama are also very powerful tools of communication. Gesture, speech, song, music are combined together to weave a theatrical performance. This fantastic combination of singing, writing and acting is a great outlet for creative expression and development.
More and more schools today organize acting classes, after school camps, summer camps and theatre – drama workshops. This is because research has demonstrated a clear correlation between drama involvement and academic achievement. Increased engagement through theatre and drama activities also encourages attendance.
In addition to better academic performance, students benefit tremendously from the creative aspects of theatre and drama. I have been conducting creative workshops for various age groups and have found that students attending these workshops are at an advantage in many ways.
Following are few of them:
Overall improvement in communication: Participation in theatre and drama activities leads to enhanced speaking and listening skills. Kids become aware of their body language and communicate effectively using non verbal cues. This sharpens their interpersonal communication skills too.
Better Reading Comprehension: Drama activities improve reading comprehension skills. Drama classes are where your child can relish language and vocabulary. Children are able to better comprehend their academic material because of exposure to scripts in various formats. Language and expression are better understood and accepted by them
Increased Self Confidence and self esteem: Getting on stage and performing in front of others helps the kids overcome stage fright and develop self confidence. Group activities encourage interpersonal communication; teach creative expression and the participants feel a sense of self worth. They are able to express their feelings clearly and confidently. This gives them a collective identity and helps them build their self esteem.
Social skills: Working within a group and performing with them adds a dynamic social side to a child’s development. They pick up many social skills. Communication with peers, problem solving, decision making and self management help them maintain positive social relationships with other kids and adults especially their parents.
Poise: Theatre and drama bring awareness of body, posture and physical presence that is taught in acting classes. It becomes ingrained and an automatic part of how children carry themselves, exuding grace, confidence and poise. This stays with them for their entire lifetime.
As a result, the gifts from these workshops are very many. One needs to tap into the right workshops where the environment is just right for learning and development.
For example, at IQuriousKids, there are the summer musical theatre workshops where the students get an opportunity to rotate between the director, choreographer and musical director. This helps them learn different aspects of the production and try out different roles, not just acting or singing. This holistic approach helps kids take responsibility of their role and understand team work.
More details about the show can be found here – https://www.iquriouskids.com/kids-camps/houston-heights/drama-musical-theater/hits-theatre-summer-musical-theatre-workshops-33-cabgafbhcceefgfejci
Kids also learn life lessons. In a similar summer musical workshop, Honk! Jr. – the story of Ugly, a little duckling who looks different from his brothers and sisters, is beautifully enacted by young kids. The story shows how instead of “cribbing about it” and feeling bad about himself, Ugly’s positive attitude pushes him toward the journey of self discovery and he learns how being different is not necessarily bad. Wonderfully portrayed by kids, this play is a spectacular and emotional treat. The kids put their heart and soul into the play and portray a beautiful story with an even more beautiful morale.
More details about the show can be found here – https://www.iquriouskids.com/kids-camps/houston-heights/drama-musical-theater/hits-theatre-summer-musical-theatre-workshops-33-cabgafbhcbachhfchjfayears
These activities also teach empathy; a virtue so important in life. Everyone learns how it is to be in someone else’s situation. I believe empathy is incredibly valuable for developing communication skills and also for forming relationships.
All these important traits really bring about an overall development of the child’s personality. It polishes their skills and makes them shine. Academic achievement is very important, I do not dispute that, but also try theatre and drama, it’s fun!
Does your child want to learn how to be an actor or actress? Check out all the exciting options for art classes, dance camps, film schools or other artistic interests on iQuriousKids.com
What types of theater does your family enjoy? Share your story in the comments!