Performing Arts: a luxury or necessity?

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Acting By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Acting
Last updated: 27/05/2018
Tags: benefits of drama, performing arts

If I told you that the performing arts is an integral element of society and education, and that it influences almost every single person living on planet earth, would you believe me? Unfortunately, the availability of funding for the performing arts sector is somewhat unstable, with ideas being thrown around about removing drama from our education system. On top of this, if you are searching for an extra-curricular drama activity outside the state school system, you could be forking out nearly £1000 per year for just one student. But before I discuss the overpricing, let's talk about the benefits:

Aside from the obvious advantage of attending a drama activity, one of the biggest benefits I think every student takes away with them is confidence. Whether it is confidence in performing, in making friends or in making a fool of yourself for a bunch of future friends, the performing arts are a great self-esteem booster for almost everyone.

Working as an individual is beneficial in many places, but working as a team is hard to teach on its own; however, drama activities rely on teamwork and it is one of the many hidden benefits of joining a performing arts group. New friendships, new confidence, being able to work as a team, and finally, a benefit that I think can help in any profession: public speaking. Whether you are thinking of going into politics, becoming a manager at a high profile company or working as a receptionist in the local hotel, being able to speak clearly and confidently in front of small or large groups of people is 100% a necessity. Aside from school presentations, performing arts groups are one of the few places where young people can subconsciously practise and learn public speaking.

The final (hidden) benefit of any drama class, is its uses in the general school curriculum; in particular, English. From poems to Shakespeare, a drama class can take what you are learning in the classroom and bring it to life before your very eyes. Whether it's putting Shakespeare's rhythms into practice or recreating a busy marketplace scene, you'll see a completely different side to the text you've been reading in your head. Which leads me onto the necessity of the performing arts in bringing important points to life:

Have you ever watched a television program to be presented with a helpline number at the credits? If you have, then that is because you have been watching a piece of drama that has actively challenged, highlighted or revealed a political or mental health issue, among other things. The performing arts is becoming, more than ever, a place where people's voices can be heard through the ever-increasing traffic jam of news. Verbatim theatre is a prime example: a method of using people's real words or voices to create a play. Another example is street performances where the public are unwillingly thrown into a scene that challenges their perspective on certain issues such as racism. And what about the reconstructions in documentaries? Without actors, you would have to rely on your imagination to recreate various scenes from history.

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned the idea that some performing arts schools charge nearly £1000 per student per year. Quite a shocking figure for most people, particularly if you have four children who are all desperate to sign up. Thankfully not all schools charge this amount. But I think there are a couple of other elements that prevent people from wanting to join a local performing arts group. Firstly, most places charge parents termly in advance, and although breaking it down to £9 an hour doesn't seem too bad, over £300 is a lot of money to pay in one go. Secondly, what if you're unable to complete a full term due to illness or change of circumstances? I think there should be more options for parents to pay.

For me, the performing arts is not a luxury, but simply a necessity for anyone and everyone in life.


James Percy-Smith Acting Coaches (Milton Keynes)

About The Author

5 Stars - "I can not possibly recommend James Percy-Smith any higher!". James is an experienced private tutor in acting (incl. drama school auditon preparation & LAMDA) and elocution (incl. pubic speaking & accent reduction).




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