At Starlit Voice we are often asked the question, “Why is drama important?” Many people in society still consider the performing arts to not be a real profession; it’s either just a hobby or something that one does because they were not good enough to do anything else.
From a financial point of view, the performing arts is often viewed upon as an unstable industry, where only a handful of people end up getting work or being successful, or achieving that ever illusive dream of “Fame”
So, is this the case? Is drama unimportant? We at Starlit voice, who are passionate about inspiring and engaging creative imaginations at every level, feel quite the opposite.
Here are six reasons why Drama is important.
So your dream is not to be an actor but rather a lawyer, a doctor or as one student told us, the CEO of HSBC. Drama can help you to achieve this goal. Whether you are working in the legal profession, the medical profession or the financial industry, you need to be able to communicate effectively with people. Statistics show that students who have actively participated in drama productions, or drama workshops and classes are far more comfortable speaking in public. Much of drama is about working as part of a team. Weather it is a small or large team you will need to interact sometimes with many individuals and learn to share ideas and cooperate with other individuals, and be a good listener. Drama truly is the most collaborative art form in terms of people learning to work together.
Playing a character helps you to step into someone else’s shoes and see the world through their eyes. Being an actor, you are required to partly play the role of a detective – understanding another human being and how they think, feel and act – and part psychologist-gaining a greater understanding of human behavior. Many companies now engage drama professionals to conduct role play workshops where doctors, lawyers and other experts are given the chance to learn how to handle conflict in the workplace. Universities are now applying the same practical coaching into their syllabus so that students get the opportunity to have practical experience working on real case studies. A good lawyer may not condone their client’s actions, but they have a professional obligation to be able to defend them, and stepping inside their shoes and having a greater understanding of how their mind works will help them to be able to build a stronger case.
Drama helps you to become goal orientated. Whether you are working in a show, or you are part of a drama team; there will be shared goals.
With a production an actor needs to do research about their characters-how they think, how they behave, how they speak and how they move. The actor needs to learn their lines, practice their movements and sometimes they will also have the added challenges of learning songs or choreography. They will then need to practice this until it looks effortless.
Sometimes actors will also need to learn a new skill such as how to sword fight, juggle or ride a horse. So there is lots of opportunity for one’s own personal self-development.
Drama builds confidence. Drama is all about learning to express yourself, through voice and movement. Now, some people suffer from chronic stage fright and no amount of practice or speaking in front of an audience will alleviate the emotional distress it causes them to have to address a room full of people, but whilst there are tools that can be taught to help one manage their stress level, there are many other areas in which drama can help to build ones confidence.
Improving ones vocabulary learning to memorise a verse or poem and analysis of a character will help to build one’s self esteem.
Through drama, we learn skills to be able to react to new or unexpected circumstances. Drama games are an important part of studying acting and also many professional theatre companies including the Royal Shakespeare Company will begin rehearsals or warm ups for productions with drama games because they are useful team building exercises that help to build trust and the level of focus that is needed for a production. Drama games are also an excellent tool to help develop ones imagination and creativity. Most drama games rely on a certain level of improvisation. Improvisation is where a dialogue or conversation in a scene; or a situation as well as the place, time and event or the movement of the scene is made up, usually on the spot. Being able to improvise is a life skill that can help in many careers when things or situations are not black and white. Having the advantage to able to think outside the box will help you both personally and professionally.
Above all else, drama is fun! Many students don’t realise that they are learning all sorts of skills when they are doing drama because they are having so much fun, and don’t think of it as hard work. Drama enables you to meet new people from all walks of life and experience and learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before. Being able to express and experience a range of different emotions in a safe and supportive environment can be incredibly satisfying and fulfilling. Drama is also all about making the make-believe real, making the impossible possible, turning peoples dreams into reality. An artist cannot be afraid of making a fool of themselves and the process of being able to let oneself go and essentially be quite silly, can be not only hilarious but loads of fun.