It’s hard work being a young person. Have we forgotten how often we were angry or down as we were growing up? Sometimes it was a minefield just getting through a day. And didn’t we all have our bad days? Most of us probably still do.
As I’ve always said the theatre space is special. I sometimes call it the magic rectangle because different rules apply when you step into it to rehearse or to perform.
It’s a great place for us teachers to get a group to face a challenge they thought they couldn’t do. There’s so much going on. You have to bring your feelings along but you mustn’t let them take you over so you have to control them. You have to be aware of others and listen and watch them. You’ve got to be ready to push yourself forward or hold yourself back. There’s a lot to think about. And in class it happens right here, right now! There’s not much time to plan it all in advance – you have to get on and do. That immediacy is very special. It can be very controlled and focused and it can carry a powerful feeling. It can also be very freeing and open like time standing still for a bit.
So as a place for learning this rectangle is wonderful for using both the heart and the head. And what’s more you can stop it at any time and talk about what’s going on and make it better. Then you can rewind and do it again or move on or change it in tiny ways or even start with something completely new.
This is why performing arts training carries such a powerful educational punch. Most education is technical and carried to the brain – like learning facts and figures. But this learning connects up the whole person and gives young people time and space to be someone else in a different place – it’s not just the here and now. In that sense it is learning in a distance because you can step in and out of it.
And that’s rather different from the ‘social distanced’ way we have had to get used to. When we come out the other side of these days it will have given us an experience of dealing with big constraints on our work. But by using our feelings and our ability to listen and communicate – it will have given us something very important if we’re ready to learn it – emotional intelligence.
Our top-quality classes in acting, singing, and dancing provides young people with an outlet that encourages confidence, creativity and comradeship, while also positively contributing to their overall fitness and mental health. For further information on our national performing arts schools visit www.theatretrain.co.uk.