I didn’t particularly dislike drama or singing; it just seemed as though the stage was not for me.
At the beginning of my NGHS career, I couldn’t have been less involved in school productions, in fact, the last I had heard of such was my sister having been in Dracula two years prior. My entrance into the Performing Arts ‘world’ would come about during House Performing Arts.
Playing the troll in a fantasy-themed play, the community aspect of theatre drew me in and, as a house, we celebrated having won. 2020 would see me finally auditioning for a musical after the previous years of having debated joining one and the environment created during rehearsal is one unparalleled by any other experience.
My main fear was being judged for not being able to sing and dance as well as others. That fear would cause my range to shorten and worsen my singing ability causing a vicious cycle of sorts and while I still get really nervous on stage and even in rehearsals, I’m glad to say that I’ve learned that everyone else has the same fear and are not inclined to focus on your mistakes as much as you may think.
At my age, the way others perceive you is a large part of life and often means that people are scared to embarrass themselves, but drama lessons are certainly a place where letting loose and discarding expectations of yourself is greatly rewarded.
Confidence and public speaking are skills that are developed during all forms of the arts whether it’s playing John Proctor in an amateur performance or a scene from ‘The Crucible’ in drama or pitching an idea for an original performance in the Technical Award. As one of my closest friends said “it [drama] is a way to express emotion and be someone else for a change.” They went on to say that it had “given me a confidence that means that I can talk freely with people much more than before.”
As well as just acting, the technical side of drama is also offered. Though I’m not the best at lightning or setting up sound systems, the marketing and designing side of technical drama is where my interest lies, particularly in poster making and script writing.
The Technical BTEC award shines a light on a different side of drama in which those that aren’t particularly interested in acting. You can have a major part in setting, clothing and lighting and help to create a fantastic performance that everyone is proud of.
In a world where the only certainty is that there will be uncertainty, control over your portrayal of a character and the script, in devised productions, brings back a security that may have been lost during the pandemic and as many clubs and after school activities were unable to go ahead during lockdown, drama classes made the most of the situation. That said I am overjoyed that we are now able to rehearse and devise in person.
My family is not particularly musical, unless you count the hymns and church songs that frequent the house on a Sunday, so my love for the arts seemingly came from nowhere.
A New Perspective
The beauty of playing different characters is seeing the world from a new point of view. Empathy is gained for situations that we may not have or never will come across in our own lives, granting a new understanding of the world around us.
Along with happenings in school, the resurgence of Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton in pop culture, fuelled my desire to be on stage and ensured that my love for theatre would exhibit no restraints.
Acting is definitely something I’d want to pursue later in life but even if that doesn’t come to fruition, the skills learned in the drama studio are certainly transferable. Without the arts, I don’t think I’d even slightly resemble the person I am today.
But don’t just listen to me.
I talked to one of my most vocally talented friends and asked, “How did you get into Performing Arts?” and here’s what they said: “I was raised on musicals, so I grew up dancing and singing and doing performing arts activities and I’ve never really stopped.”
The theatre truly has a place for everyone and my only regret is not having joined earlier.