Learning how to act is more than just learning how to be an actor. According to Dr. Louis E. Catron at Appalachian State University, there are 25+ special advantages, or life skills, that students learn when they study theatre. We will break down a few of those skills here:
Both oral and physical communication skills are important in everyday life. As students grow, it becomes increasingly important that their communication skills grow as well from giving presentations in school to effectively expressing their emotions.
Acting provides the skills to speak with confidence in front of groups as small as two or three to as large as 100 and beyond! Through speech activities, students sharpen their articulation, projection, and vocal dynamics to be able to speak clearly and convey emotions effectively. This allows for clear and precise verbal communication.
Movement skills help students convey emotions and stories without the use of words. It teaches them to be very specific with the way they use their facial expressions to convey emotions and how they move their bodies to communicate. Acting reminds students that moments of stillness can be powerful. And gives them room to explore, in their own way, how to be comfortable and confident in their own skin.
A lot of acting involves group work. Creating group scenes, improv with a partner, theatre games with the whole class, etc. And in an acting class, there can be people of all different ages, backgrounds, and skill sets. All of these different people end up in the same room together for one reason: to act.
Students learn to work cooperatively in these group settings to reach a common goal. Flexibility and the ability to adapt is a vital skill that is learned during acting classes because each person must support the group in any way they can while ensuring no one is left out. “There is no room for “we” versus “they” behavior; the “star” diva is a thing of the past.”
Creative Problem Solving
The ability to solve a problem in a new and creative way is a skill that is highly sought after. And it is one that can be attained with practice.
During an acting class, students are given new characters or situations to then build off of. Unless there is a script involved, students must use their creativity and ingenuity to create a whole world from very little.
For example, the teacher might tell a group “You are a band of pirates looking for treasure” and that is all they get. How they look for treasure, their relationships, where they are, and more is all up to the group.
If that same prompt is given to 5 different groups, odds are there will be 5 completely different scenes. Space pirates, lazy pirates, pirates who speak their own language, and more. This is creativity at work. The “problem” to be solved here is there is a missing story and we need to find it. The “solving” comes from the students using their imagination and creative thinking to, very quickly, create a unique world from scratch.
These problem-solving skills convert easily to everyday life. Students begin to look at problems from a new perspective. A project at school or a small fight with a friend. Instead of solving the problem the lazy pirate way, they choose the space pirate way.
How to have Fun
Overall, acting gives students the permission to be whoever or whatever they want. It encourages them to be silly and not to take themselves so seriously. In a world where it is so important to be academically successful and as art programs get pulled from schools, it is vital that students still have the ability to be creative and have fun.
Acting is hard work just as any other skill is. It requires practice and dedication. And it is these life skills, and many more, that make acting such a wonderful thing to learn.
Learn more about the acting/life skills that Drama Kids teaches today! Get in touch for details on our class offerings.