The Art of Performance: Theatre, Children, and Stage
Written by Nathaniel Alvino Risa Prima, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia
The period of childhood has been very profound to be the basis of intelligence, creativity, and personality for every individual. The future of children is practically decided during this certain period. Therefore, the assistance by parents and educators is very much needed.
Outside of the formal education at school which relies on textbooks (curriculum-based) and pedagogical learning, the involvement of creative activities is also as important. Nowadays, there are bunches of engaging non-academic activities to facilitate the young minds and souls.
The trickiest task now lies in how one could rely on an activity that is truly beneficial for the children’s needs, development, and creativity. Usually, modern parents and educators send their children to get involved with more-common and easily-accessed activities.
Some send their kids to join a painting class or sport club. While others choose performing and stage activities, such as dancing, vocal, and playing instruments (music). These activities indeed allow children to boost their confidence and be more self-reliant.
Nonetheless, still not so many who ever consider their children to be involved with another form of art, a well-rounded activity that involves acting, move, or even music, such as theatre!
What does it mean to be a performer in theatre?
In Indonesia, the access and facilities towards theatrical art are still pretty limited – let alone the ones which are specifically designed for children! There are not so many theatre spots and workshops in the country. The condition might intensify if you reside in a small-town or rural area.
Yet, surely, there are more and more formal schools (whether privates and publics) who start to form their own theatre club or integrate drama within their curriculum. It shows that the interest and awareness towards theatre are steadily increasing, especially among children and youth.
As a branch of stage performances, theatre does not only revolve around a “mere” acting as commonly thought. The actors and actresses do not only rely on their internal imagination and artistic efforts, but also their logical ability. When a theatre performer stands on stage, they have to be totally aware and think carefully on their blocking (stage positioning), the direction of light, as well as their timing of dialogue.
It might get trickier when one involves themselves within a musical theatre, where they have to dance as well as to sing in addition to acting.
The Benefits of Theatre for Children
The complexities of theatre are the ones which make the activity beneficial and encouraging for children and their development. These multi-layers are seen to be fitted with the condition of children’s mind and soul. Beyond mere confidence and self-reliance, there are more aspects which get highlighted within children through theatre as in the following:
- Memory and Communication Skills
When a child joins a theatre activity, it means they have to focus and memorize scripted dialogue. This part indeed helps to develop children’s recollection ability. While further, it also allows children to train their communication skills as they have to verbally interact with the fellow casts on stage.
- Social-emotional development
As they are working as a part of a team, children will improve their social skills. They have the chance to express themselves, while sharing and making new friends. The participation in theatre activities will help enhance their interpersonal skills because they need to understand their play characters and the different roles, which allows children to relate better to different situations, people, feelings, and support the ability to be in someone else’s shoes (Calgary’s Child, n.d.).
- Higher academic achievements
When arts education is brought to the children, studies show that creative and critical thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning are improved. Arts learning in theatre is linked to good academic accomplishment in school, according to the Arts Education Partnership Report “Arts Education Has Academic Effect.”
Learning to play instruments, read dialogue, and perform music as is well known, improves mathematics achievement and proficiency. Reading, linguistic and math skills, problem-solving, and creative thinking are all linked to performing arts programs!
Well, with all of the benefits above, theatre is proven to be constructive for children’s development in wider scope. Beyond the development of the creative side, theatre is also beneficial to the logical side of the children.
So, have you thought to bring your kid to the theatre club? There is no need to think twice to start!
No Name. (n.d.). The benefits of performing arts for children. Calgary’s Child. Retrieved from https://www.calgaryschild.com/class-program/arts/2669-the-benefits-of-performing-arts-for-children