With school budgets for Drama on the decline, many in the Performing Arts industry are concerned about the impact this will have on the future of the Arts, and preparing children for their futures.
In a recent article about performing arts in schools Lenny Henry commented: “I’m learning there have been massive cuts in teaching the arts in schools and it is cutting off your nose to spite your face. If you are not teaching children how to be creative and curious, what are you preparing them for? You are not preparing them for the outside world,” said Henry.
In response to these changes in the educational value placed on the arts in schools, the National Theatre has launched a new initiative called “Lets Play” which aims to have had 50,000 pupils involved in the project by 2020.
But why is it such an important subject and what are the benefits of being involved in Performing arts for children? Here are our top 5 reasons why so many parents and teachers are passionate about investing their time:
Improved engagement and achievement at School
Links to improved performance in maths, reading and writing, from involvement in the performing arts are widely documented. Learning new routines helps build respect for authority, develops effective listening skills and an openness to take on board new instructions, or be receptive to the ideas of other. All of which are transferable into the classroom and beyond.
The opportunity to let off steam outside of the classroom and express themselves in a performance also has positive benefits for concentration and mental health, enabling children to focus on their academic studies during the school day.
The Arts bring together a group of individuals with a common passion and goal. From a young age students of varying family backgrounds, cultures and abilities join together and learn to collaborate together, supporting each other to deliver a fabulous performance. In doing so children learn about teamwork, empathy and tolerance.
With the primary focus on working together, they learn that whilst their own self development is important, they equally need to contribute to the team and have the support of others with complementary skills, to succeed.
Self-confidence and self-belief
Appearing on stage takes huge amounts of courage and confidence, skills which grow as children develop their experiences of different situations and techniques. The industry is one in which feedback is constructive and the encouragement of family and friends goes a long way to reinforcing a can-do approach to life.
This confidence is transferable into the classroom with students no longer shy to answer questions, give presentations or simply helps them adapt to different environments, as they progress to university or their future careers.
Creativity and imagination
The art of problem solving is all about being able to analyse situations and have creative ideas, so has many parallels to the performing arts, where the freedom of expression is actively encouraged.
For example, performances that don’t quite go to plan may require improvisation and it’s this ability to think quickly and outside the box which will benefit these students as they progress into the workplace. Being able to understand a character’s emotions and transfer these into their portrayal, aids them in becoming more emotionally and socially aware an ability often hard to teach.
To be successful in the arts as in sport, takes dedication, perseverance and the ability to learn from failures or knock backs, whilst taking on board constructive feedback and being open to learn new techniques or skills.
Physical resilience is also a key benefit of involvement in performances requiring physical strength and stamina, with the added health benefits of getting kids more active and away from technology.
It is this resilience and mental toughness to not give up, which is transferable into working life and drive future personal success.
As a leading school travel organiser, COGO Travel have seen a huge increase in interest for Performing Arts trips overseas during 2018. Having recently launched the exclusive Time to Shine event in collaboration with Disneyland Paris, taking place during the October half term, a further date in May 2019 has been added, as the response has been so phenomenal.
For more information on Time to Shine and other Performing arts tours visit the website