Drama has many uses for kids, so learning the tools of this trade for GCSEs and A-Levels could be a good idea.
However, this consensus is now being called into question. Recent news paints a vastly different picture, with the government proposing to cut funding for creative subjects by 50% at higher education level, including drama. Sadly, this is a crushing blow for the subject, and likely for the creative industries in general.
With the viability of drama being bitterly called into question, it’s only fair that the benefits of its study are reiterated and championed. You’ll find some of the perks for studying drama down below.
To have a subject that enables pupils to let loose and have fun is essential, especially after the events of the last year. After all, the lockdowns have caused heightened feelings of childhood stress and loneliness, so an outlet that channels positive energy, or at least helps to expel negative feelings, is not to be frowned upon. For many school-goers, drama is that platform where they can unleash their emotions, unveil their passions, or even pretend to be someone else who isn’t stressed and sad at points in the day. It can make a real difference in their overall wellbeing.
Drama can be fun and social too, often involving different games or warm-up exercises that get pupils laughing, moving, and interacting. To be deprived of that would be an immense shame. While it could be argued they could partake in these activities outside of school hours, drama can give the kids a break from their more punishing studies or give less academically inclined pupils a chance to celebrate something they’re good at too. Everybody wins here.
Studying drama takes guts, and if pupils apply themselves here, they can learn so much about themselves that other subjects simply can’t teach.
Transferable skills can be learnt and polished through drama. For example, communication and diction skills can be improved in their line learning, adapting to life’s curveballs can be practiced with improv, and even the ability to persuade and argue a point can be developed further in performing a character.
Furthermore, even the most seasoned actors experience bouts of stage fright on occasion, as a flurry of ill thoughts and doubts root themselves in their minds. How do they overcome it? Well, it seems like they tap into their passions, dig deep, and simply confront their anxieties head-on. They may also know when they’ve had enough stress for a day and be better able to give themselves a break for their own health. Perhaps there are useful lessons to learn in all of this?
Of course, drama pupils should never put themselves in situations that are severely distressing. But branching out beyond one’s comfort zone, and taking on challenges despite fears and worries could lead pupils to immense opportunities when their adult lives are in full swing. Practicing self-care could also become more commonplace when anxieties are more intense. Ultimately, drama can equip pupils not only with skills, but potentially new perspectives on life too.
Theatre kids may revel somewhat in their quirks and oddities, which means that making friends outside of their inner drama circle could be challenging at times. However, these struggles with social hierarchy mean that the friendships they do make may be more significant. After all, drama can essentially amount to either performing glorious talents for all to enjoy or, frankly, making a fool of oneself as all the pupils iron out the logistics of a performance. Pupils may experience both ends of the spectrum, and they need to be comfortable with one another when doing so.
Therefore, the subject has an inherent sense of participants being vulnerable with one another. This gives room for more profound bonds to form between the pupils, and for them to trust each other completely as they develop their performances as a team. The lows may be tough to work through, but then the highs will be felt even more poignantly when they all shine on stage or in rehearsals. Through it all, lifelong friendships can be formed.
When it comes to important matters such as representation, the entertainment industry is often mentioned in these types of discussions. This is because it’s important for all peoples to see others who look like them on the television or in the theatres and cinemas. It tells the viewers that there are opportunities out there for them, and that success is always a possibility irrespective of things such as age, race, or gender.
Unfortunately, there is still much work to be done here. The mainstream media frequently publish calls for more ethnically diverse dramas to hit the screens. Of course, there are plenty of entertainers out there from ethnic backgrounds already who are looking for work, and they’d be more than happy to work on many of these programmes should they ever come to fruition.
However, now that awareness is being raised more regularly, it’s sparking an appetite for different voices to be heard. Fostering that energy in an inclusive environment where drama is taught could play an instrumental role in helping kids reaching their potential, and should even help keep the industry alive too.
I'm a freelance copywriter with an undergraduate degree in English Literature. I've written for many different outlets, including but not limited to marketing agencies, graduate recruitment websites, and online training companies. I've even interviewed a few famous actors for student and arts blogs too! Covering a wide span of material has been incredibly rewarding, as I get to turn my experiences in the arts, education and careers into helpful advice. I sincerely hope you'll find something to your liking here!