Sometimes drama class isn't the first thing parents think of when they're looking for something to help their child's development. But here are seven reasons why drama class is the best thing ever for childhood and teenage development.
#1 Drama helps kids make friends.
As a parent, it's always tough when your child feels they don't have any friends. This moment comes when they have a fight with their bestie, didn't find anyone to play with one lunchtime, or they've been subject to bullying. Unfortunately, these are the social learning experiences of childhood. But go to drama class - and your child develops a circle of friends outside the usual parameters. Not only that, the activities that take place in class are conducive to building friendships. Working on a script, creating a play or scene together, and discussion with classmates about stories and characters - all these encourage friendliness between class members.
#2 Drama develops self-confidence
This is a big one. Often kids come to us who are shy or anxious. But when they get to experiment on stage as a character other than themselves, they explore parts of themselves and their imagination they didn't know existed. Before they perform in a play, they may be very nervous - but once they get out there and do it, suddenly they feel within themselves they've achieved something. And it was fun. And it was creative. And they received applause. All of these things build self-confidence.
#3 Drama helps kids become more creative.
Children and young people are naturally creative - but as they get older, we tend to encourage them "not to be so silly". They have to grow up and learn to be responsible. And yet the World Economic Forum has for several years been saying that creativity is one of the three top skills needed in the contemporary workforce. So often we feel a little conflicted about play and creativity. When you allow children to participate in a drama class, you are actually providing a place for their own creative exploration. When human beings are creative, they flourish. Plus you're giving them a headstart on future work skills they;ll need as they mature. They're learning how to preserve their creative spirit.
#4 Drama helps kids become more empathetic.
With so many different voices in our world today, and so many conflicting opinions, it's important that human beings show empathy towards one another. The ability to stand in another person's shoes, and understand them, and feel for them, is something that happens naturally in drama class. Every time a child tries on a new character in their script, they are invited to imagine themselves from that character's point of view. They are asked to think outside themselves - and bring those thoughts into themselves. That's where empathy is born.
#5 Drama develops communication skills
So much of our children's time is spent in engagement with screens. They're losing touch with their bodies. Communication involves the whole self - body language, voice, eyes, and mind. Drama, with its imaginative movement exercises, its adoption of character traits, it's emphasis on exploring emotion, and its performance experiences, helps children to communicate in a holistic way. In working with words and scripts, they become more articulate. In embodying a character on stage or screen and adopting postures, voices and gestures appropriate to that character, they become more naturally expressive.
#6 Drama builds team skills
In Australia, sport is central to society. As well as health benefits, sport provides opportunity for kids to work as part of a team. But did you know - drama does exactly the same thing? Students of drama learn to support other members of their ensemble, work on a performance project together, complete warm-ups and movement exercises together, and learn how to resolve conflicts together. So if you are looking at what activities your child needs in the coming year, realise that drama will achieve many of the same outcomes as sport - plus a whole lot more.
#7 Drama creates precious memories
What's interesting about working with adults in the performing arts - whether they come to us to do a qualification, a leisure course, or whether their employer forces them to do one of our corporate programs - is that they will often describe formative drama experiences they had as a child. More often than not, these are extraordinarily happy memories. Being a shepherd in the school nativity play. Being in the ensemble of a school musical. Being spotted by a teacher and encouraged to pursue acting. Heck, even playing a tree! Participation in drama creates previous memories, and why? Because drama engages our hearts as well s our minds. Drama makes us feel like we belong. Drama taps into our creative spirit. Drama allows us to explore things we normally wouldn't think about. All of these aspects work together to imprint vivid memories that stay with us for a lifetime.
I'd say it's time to enrol your child in drama classes, don't you?
A New Year is always a good time to review your goals as an actor, and make some plans.
You may have good acting technique, stage presence, and a look that's amazing on camera - but if you don't take steps to actually build a career, no one's going to find out about what you've got to offer.
Any acting school worth its chops will train you not only in acting technique, but also in how to find professional gigs. At Perform Australia, our qualifications have significant components on sourcing, auditioning for and creating your own work.
Or, if you want a tailor-made plan for your own advancement, you can have an interview with us to develop a personalised career plan to get started.
In the meantime, here are some extra tips on getting your career under way this year.
1. Update your CV. Not your employment CV, your performance CV! This is a list of all your roles and productions, the production company you were with, who directed them, and when. For ease of reading, classify each item under 'Film', 'Television' and 'Theatre'. Make sure the most recent items are at the top of each list (as they occurred, in reverse chronological order). Add any training programs you've attended, and list the tutors (this is your chance to name-drop!).
2. Update your assets. You should have two types of asses: first, your headshots, and second, your video assets. Head shots should be digital so you can easily upload them or flick them across to a director with any audition application. Your photos should look like you, as you are now. If you have changed your appearance (radical change of hairstyle or colour, beard or no beard, gained or lost significant weight, etc.) then it might be time for new photos.
Your video assets are clips of you acting. In the past, the 'show reel' was a 2-3 minute video of extracts from various film projects you've been in. While these are still useful in securing an agent or work, more and more the industry is tending towards clips and self-tapes - that is to say, a single audition tape designed for a particular audition. Reason being, the audition panel doesn't have time to watch you doing a multitude of different roles - they want to know right now if you can play this role - the one they're casting right this minute. So it makes more sense to have a monologue of you in a dramatic role, and one in a comedic role on hand. And if you are planning to crack the American market, you need to record the same thing over again in with a solid American accent.
3. Set up your social media. You need to be seen on every important platform - not just as yourself, but as an actor. If you don't already have accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you need to be there. Your showreel needs to be up on Youtube. New platforms come every couple of years, so make sure you are abreast of the changes, and be an early adopter, rather than slow to gather followers in those places.
4. Expand your contacts list. Check out local networking events in the film and theatre industry. Reach out to local production companies with your CV and headshots. Do a workshop and meet other actors. Then make sure you connect with any new contacts via social media, phone or email.
5. Make a plan for how you're going to find auditions and apply. Auditions are effectively job interviews for actors - where you meet and greet, demonstrate your skill and the panel decides whether or not you're right for the job. There are numerous ways to find auditions - following casting directors on social media, joining relevant subscription services, and of course, word of mouth. It can help to keep a log of those jobs you've applied for, as well as the contact details of significant people you've met in the course of auditioning. Going for as many as you can increases your likelihood of getting a job!
But before all these - you need actor training! Have you started yours yet?
Find out about our Certificate in acting here.
Find out about our Musical Theatre Certificate here.
Find out about our short courses here.
Find out about our programs for children and young people here.
Are you a musical theatre lover? Then you'll want to check out these Christmas musicals!
Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Based on the children's book of the same name, this musical with book and lyrics by Timothy Mason and score by Mel Marvin first opened in 1994 in Minneapolis in the US. It later transferred to Broadway and became the first musical to run 12 shows a week, pushing Schwartz's Wicked off the charts as the top-grossing musical in December 2006.
Songs include: I Hate Christmas Eve, Whatchama Who, You’re A Mean One Mr Grinch, and Santa For A Day
Elf The Musical
Based on the film starring Will Ferrell, this is the story of a young orphan, who as a child, crawls into Santa's sack and is taken back to the North Pole. Santa raises him as an elf, until one day the orphan sets off to New York City in search of his real dad. With script by Bob Martin and Thomas Meehan, and a score by Matthew Sklar, it's a family favourite.
Songs include: Sparklejollytwinklejingley, I’ll Believe In You, World’s Greatest Dad
Nativity! The Musical
Written by Debbi Isitt and co-composed with Nicky Ager, Nativity! The Musical tells of teachers Mr Maddens and Mr Poppy staging a musical version of the Biblical Christmas story at St Bernadette's Primary. Things don't flow as smoothly as they'd like! It opened in Birmingham, UK in 2017 and has so far enjoyed three UK tours.
Songs include: Dear Father Christmas, Our School Nativity, Sparkle and Shine, She’s The Brightest Star.
Holiday Inn is a musical based on the 1942 movie of the same name. The musical premiered in Connecticut, US, in 2014. The libretto was written by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin. The main character, Jim, leaves show business to settle down at his farmhouse, but he finds he misses song and dance. He's lucky to meet Linda, herself a talented performer, and together they turn the farmhouse into an inn with its own dazzling entertainment.
Songs include:White Christmas, Cheek to Cheek, Blue Skies, Steppin’ Out With My Baby.
Scrooge: The Musical
The book, music and lyrics of Scrooge: The Musical were written by noted musical theatre practitioner, Leslie Bricusse. Based on Charles Dickens' original story, the musical was adapted from the screenplay of the 1970 film Scrooge starring Albert Finney. It came to the stage in 1992 and has experienced a number of revivals since that time.
Songs include: I Hate People, Sing A Christmas Carol, The Milk Of Human Kindness, and I’ll Begin Again
Would YOU like to be in a musical? At Perform Australia, we have a
number of opportunities based in Canberra:
These blog posts are written by Perform Australia staff.