Hello, I would like to start by thanking you for inviting me here today to speak about the importance of keeping Drama and Theatre for children and young people alive.
Drama is an important subject because it helps:
· Children to develop their creative thinking, storytelling and imagination,
· To build communication skills and work together collaboratively,
· To socialise and create friendships,
· To develop their self-confidence
· And to have fun, which is really important in today’s world!
I was lucky enough to be introduced to Drama at the age of four.
The performing arts has enabled me to:
· Think creatively,
· Speak openly and share my ideas,
· Be confident to stand up and perform in front of an audience, for example being here today and giving a public speech.
The skills I have gained by being involved in Drama and in theatre from a very young age are still with me today.
Not only is Drama a creative and an enjoyable subject it is also highly educational. Drama provides children and young people a pathway to explore different perspectives whilst raising awareness on social and political issues. For example, friendships and racism. This helps young people to develop feelings of emotion and empathy.
Drama and theatre are interconnected, and it brings communities of people together. Theatre allows an audience to connect with performers and form emotional bonds with characters.
In addition theatre performances help to provide job opportunities and encourage people to visit the local area providing support to local businesses.
Theatre plays a key part in a child’s development. A study by Dr Natasha Kirkham from Birkbeck University in 2019 showed that children as young as 3 years old can experience the following 3 benefits:
· improved social tolerance
· improved academic performance and
· awareness of social change by engaging with performing arts.
A study by Digital theatre in 2022 involving 250 English and Drama teachers found that 72% of teachers state seeing live theatre performances helps students memorize context and quotes of Dramatic plays. This is essential for exams as Dramatic texts make up a minimum of 25% of the GCSE curriculum.
However, a study by Shakespeare’s Globe stated that 44% of teenagers had never been to a theatre before. Factors restricting trips to theatres include costs to parents and schools, as well as the lack of teacher resources.
I believe that every child and young person should have access to Drama and theatre. We need to remove all barriers to access and give more focus on arts activities within schools such as Drama workshops and trips to the theatre.
Drama and theatre are essential to young people, we need to support this and keep it alive! Thank you.