Parent Wellbeing Blog | The Power of the Arts
The late Sir Ken Robinson is the most viewed speaker on TED.com in one of his talks, Do Schools Kill Creativity? opens with, “Creativity is as important as literacy and should be given the same status…”. And describes the power of the Arts and their positive influence on the development of young people. “If we can light the spark of curiosity in young people, they will flourish…”.
Drama cultivates connection, encourages communication and stimulates curiosity. Rarely are pupils on their Macbooks in Drama classes, starting most lessons with an active warm up game that excites and challenges their thinking. Games like Zip, Zap, Boing or the Human Knot help them develop a strong sense of togetherness through physical action, quick thinking and a lot of laughter. Once this positive group dynamic is formed, pupils feel safe to take risks and step out of their comfort zone, it is then that they start to make great leaps into the creative process; they research, create, problem solve, and evaluate while building their world of make believe. This experience is a welcome escape from the pressure of content heavy subjects, away from the strain of conventional learning; they embark on the most important journey of all, to learn about themselves, each other and the world around them.
Teens often struggle with their identity, how they fit in, what their role is, and what part they will play in this thing called life. Becoming a character, playing at being someone else can give them a sense of freedom to explore themselves through the thoughts and feelings of others. By stepping into another’s shoes and devising original pieces, they can unleash their imaginations and explore without fear of judgement; the beauty of the Arts is its subjectivity.
We study, stage, watch and perform an array of published plays, specifically designed for teenagers, that relay the stories of real people who have faced challenges such as eating disorders, self-harm or suffered online abuse. By reading and acting out these roles, pupils see different perspectives through playing family members, for example, thus seeing the situation with adult eyes, which can help them mature and develop emotional intelligence. This kind of work will always promote poignant and powerful discussions, which helps them voice their thoughts and feelings, integral to wellbeing.
Articulating emotions is instrumental in a young person’s development; in an age of distractions of Tik Tok and Instagram fakery, how do they compare to their peers and millions online? Growing up today with a strong sense of identity can’t be easy. In the advent of Covid we have witnessed a deterioration in resilience and overall wellbeing. What was missing from lockdown? Friendship, companionship, interaction with each other; in Drama lessons, we give this in abundance, a chance to reunite with each other and oneself. We are so grateful to have pupils back in the theatre creating and performing; this has been uplifting for all and a true sense of community has returned.
After a recent performance one student commented,
“It was a lot of fun working in a group with people again. During the lockdown, we couldn’t do much live acting and if we did, we had to wear masks, or perform monologues; it was so great to perform together again. There were lots of laughs and funny moments leading up to the performance and we had our ups and downs; we had to adapt, but we got there in the end. It was so fun to get out in front of an audience again and I feel really proud of what we did.”
Lower 6th Theatre pupil
Mrs Ashworth and Mrs Baker Jackson