Written by: Bruce Wilson, Co-curricular Deputy Head
Ahead of next week’s Senior production of ‘The Vackees’, I thought I would share with you my views on the importance of Drama and Performing Arts in education. We unashamedly devote a week each term for the relevant year groups to draw together their performance and feel the value of this is immeasurable.
Whether children have the opportunity to perform in theatre productions or help out behind the scenes, studying Drama and Performing Arts not only engages with the creative side of the brain, it also provides a balance in our pupils’ curriculum. It’s easy for children to become swamped in a sea of theory, which is why subjects that offer practical learning are essential.
Achieving a balanced education is just one of the benefits of studying the Arts:
- Pupils gain important life skills as they learn the value of critical feedback, both positive and constructive.
- Children have the opportunity to celebrate the richness and depth of human expression in all of its forms. Through creative expression pupils learn to comprehend our world better and are therefore better equipped to navigate the challenges they might be faced with later in life
- Drama and the performing arts allow an avenue to develop cognitive abilities that complement study in other disciplines. For example, drama pupils learn to approach situations in an array of different manners which can help to develop creative thinking and new study techniques. Further, it builds confidence which benefits public speaking opportunities. The talent that pupils discover through the Arts can form habits which transcend all areas of study.
- Communication between peers is accelerated as pupils are exposed to group activities. This experience also provides opportunity for pupils to display cultural leadership qualities.
- Some pupils find their ‘voice’ while studying the Arts. They may discover they are natural problem solvers or leaders. Creative expression is a great way to build self-confidence and can be particularly beneficial for introverted and reserved children.
- The Arts can also be a source of solitude – a place where a child is able to shut out their surrounds and immerse themselves in a creative environment. This process allows the imagination to thrive, aiding internal exploration. It’s a natural precursor to a well-developed sense of self.
- The Arts can act as an agent through which a variety of emotions can be learned, rehearsed and practised. Adolescents can find it difficult to express their emotions and so the Arts provides a great outlet for children to explore a wide range of feelings including delight, anger and unhappiness. This experience can define a child’s growing sense of independence and interdependence.
Drama productions have been part and parcel of prep school’s curriculum for many years. During that time, we have had the pleasure of witnessing many excellent performances, Treasure Island, Rainmaker, The Lion King and numerous Shakespeare offerings to name but a few. I hope next’s week performance of ‘The Vackees’ will live up to this longstanding tradition, but whatever happens on the night, I can be certain of one thing, all those involved in it will come away enriched by a wealth of opportunities.