Performing Arts teaches kids confidence and lots more
I was very lucky in my late twenties to win a place at a leading drama school, the Arts Educational Schools London, commonly shortened and affectionately known today as ArtsEd. That training was a springboard for a modest, successful, feast and famine career, with small roles in television soaps, west end and fringe theatre along the way.
Sandwiched between the rare but lucrative commercial to keep the wolves from the door, or corporate role playing and writing which as a jobbing actor, I enjoyed immensely.
Principal, Stagecoach Theatre
Arts Schools, Galway & Clare
Today, children are lucky and while they come to drama, dance and singing classes to improve, most arrive for the sheer love of it and that's wonderful, regardless of any ambitions they might have. Expressive arts education mean's children gain confidence, stretch imagination, learn new skills and most importantly have fun. Normally over three or four terms, they will gain self-esteem and learn to express themselves creatively and effectively through drama classes, singing lessons and dance classes. These skills, acquired while learning the skills of performance, do not disappear when they come off stage, they are skills for life.
Classes should be run by professional dance, drama or singing teachers who have been garda vetted and currently working in the profession. They should have clear working guidelines, a strict child protection policy and a transparency with regular reports for parents, examinations and presentations. At the Stagecoach schools I run however, it's not just for performers, it is also for those who wish simply to enjoy learning to act, sing and dance. Our ethos is to enable children and teenagers to grow, gradually and at their own speed, into effective human beings. At the same time our caring and talented teachers make sure they keep their feet firmly on the ground.
The curriculum should be broad to enable students to experience a wide range of styles and skills. Dance classes will improve coordination and technique and give the opportunity to learn popular pop, street dance routines and musical theatre ensemble pieces. In drama, young people will explore their creativity through improvisation and role play, improving vocabulary, social awareness and communication skills. The singing classes will introduce students to different rhythms and tempos in music allowing them to challenge themselves with a wide range of songs while improving technique and vocal ability.
Fun is an essential element of any programme and I have learned one golden truth over the years: Children love to achieve and they like to do so, in a disciplined environment. So I'd say at the weekends, we don't set out to create fun, the students do that for themselves. So skills not just for the stage, but for life also!
John Lucey is an actor, writer and director, he is also principal of Stagecoach Theatre Arts in County Galway and Clare, Vist the Stagecoach website on www.stagecoach.ie
To find out about other Performing Arts Schools on Schooldays.ie visit our Afterschool Activities Section on Schooldays.ie