What are the benefits of my child joining an after school drama academy?
When you are considering an after school drama club for your child, what are you thinking?
Are you thinking your child might become a Hollywood superstar or are you simply thinking that an extra activity, where your child can meet new friends, develop self-confidence and communication skills and improve their performance skills (which they will need in their English curriculum throughout school) might be a good thing? Whatever you are thinking, undoubtedly, an extracurricular activity is always beneficial for your child.
If your child is interested in performing arts, or you have spotted a hidden talent, or you think they would benefit from improved confidence, then The Wake Up Drama Academy is the place for your child.
One of the benefits of attending a drama academy is the opportunity to interact with children from different year groups and from different backgrounds and walks of life.
At The Wake Up Drama Academy, we welcome all children who have an interest in the arts and who are willing to join in and have fun. You may be worried that your child will be surrounded by ambitious and competitive would-be actors and actresses. However, in my experience, this is not the case. Most of the children who attend the academy are there for the enjoyment of learning the new skills and having fun! This is not to say that, if your child is talented and has dreams of becoming an actor/actress, we will not encourage their dreams; of course we will.
There is no pressure on any of the students. We provide a structured and safe environment for your child and, within this environment, the opportunity to develop their social skills through working with others.
Improving life skills.
At The Wake Up Drama Academy, our mission is to provide children with skills for life! That’s right. Attending drama classes can provide your child with a wide variety of skills that they will need throughout life.
Many children are frightened of speaking in front of others, joining in with group discussions and even answering a question in class. Drama classes are not just about acting although this forms the basis of what we are offering at the academy. However, through the classes, the children have so many opportunities to interact with others, in a non-pressured environment, that they cannot help but benefit from it.
Some children are naturally shy and we often find that these children make very good actors as they have a persona, which is not their own, to work with. Other children appear to be full of confidence yet lack the listening skills to interact effectively. Think how many adults are gripped with anxiety when faced with a job interview, giving a speech or hosting a meeting. When I first started teaching, despite my background in English and Drama, I was frightened to death of giving my first assembly. It wasn’t the amount of children in the audience that worried me but the staff who would be standing at the sides watching my every move! It was my performance technique that saved me. I never liked giving assemblies but I never feared them as I did on that very first occasion.
The games, exercises and acting activities which we offer at The Wake Up Drama Academy, help children to acquire these essential skills by encouraging spontaneity and the ability to ‘think on your feet’. For example, in one of our games, the children are asked to pass an object, a ball for example, around the circle. Each child is asked to interact with the ball as if it is another object. So, for example, they cradle it like a baby and make cooing noises. All ideas are accepted and it is amazing some of the ideas the children come up with.
This is a brilliant exercise designed to encourage the children to use their imaginations and think on their feet. If a child cannot think of anything, s/he is free to pass the ball onto the next person and ask for it back when they have thought of something!
It is not uncommon nowadays for companies and firms to send their staff on team building days to try to encourage and help them work together. Isn’t it amazing that, as adults, we often find it difficult to work with our colleagues? Most of us get on with it in the knowledge that everyone is different and we all need to work together for a common purpose. Children need to learn this same skill. Often, when I visit schools, I will hear children saying ‘Well I can’t work with him because….’ Or ‘We don’t get on so we can’t work together……’ etc. I often found this an issue when working in Secondary Schools and it often leads to children being left out and feeling hurt. Since starting the academy, I have never found this in my classes. The children are encouraged to work with each other in lots of different combinations and they do so without argument. What a fantastic skill to have acquired at a young age! And let’s hope that this skill is being transferred to their school classes as well!
Some children are shy and find group work difficult, but through the many activities at the academy, this shyness can be overcome. And what about the very confident child who has no problem speaking in a group situation but struggles with team work? We offer many activities to help children listen to and consider the ideas of others. For example, one of our games id called ‘Yes! Let’s do that!’ The idea is for the children to suggest activities to do in a certain setting, for example, at the beach. The others have to shout ‘Yes! Let’s do that!’ and all join in the activity. This is about accepting others’ ideas. They are not allowed to say ‘No, I want to do something else!’ They will get their turn soon enough. This is a brilliant activity and the children love it. One of many which will help your child develop skills for life!
The nature of our classes means that your child will be working, for most of the session, with other children of about the same age. This provides an excellent opportunity for new friendships to flourish as your child meets and talks to children s/he may not normally work with. In school, the nature of most lessons means that children will be working alone, unless involved in a group work activity. And sometimes, in such cases, more confident children will take over and less confident children get little chance to have an input.
This is why I love drama so much. In our classes, the children are constantly being asked to work together and they love the freedom of being able to speak and not being constantly told to be quiet! We look carefully at the children in our classes and will often group them so that less confident children can flourish and make new friends. I have seen so many friendships develop through children meeting at one of my classes. They exchange phone numbers (in the case of the older students) and keep in touch outside of classes. It’s also great to hear that younger students will see an older student at school and they will stop and have a chat, the older student almost taking the younger one under his wing!
Performance skills are an essential part of life. Whatever job/career we may choose, we will, at some point, need to perform; for example, my aforesaid dreaded assemblies! At The Wake Up Drama Academy, our focus is on developing technique through improvisation and the children get lots of opportunity to perform, during lessons, to the rest of the class. This helps the students to overcome any fear they may have of performing and it is less pressured than performing on stage. In our weekly, one hour acting technique sessions, we focus on a new technique each week although some of these may be related to each other and some areas, for example, slap stick comedy, may be a series of lessons over a number of weeks. We do not put on productions, as such, as this would require the children to learn lines and rehearse the same scenes each week which is not what we are offering here. We are offering a varied, exciting and innovative approach to acting for stage and film through improvisation so your child will not be coming home with lines to learn and costumes to get together. However, what they will be doing is learning how to act! Also, they will be learning the performance skills need for other areas of their school curriculum and for life in general.