In theatre school, children learn everything about drama, dance and singing, including costume work, make-up and set design. They learn the technical language for the stage and musical pieces and understand how to project their voices and display facial expressions and body language. They learn the difference between a monologue and a play and how these performances vary.
On another level, they learn to develop their communication and social skills by thinking of new characters and circumstances that allow them to gain perspectives that they haven’t considered before. They discuss the emotional meaning behind words and music and how these feelings might affect somebody. As they develop their characters and performances, they grow too.
By “hot seating” a character, they really have to think about what another person would do or say in any given situation. At this point, they get to talk about any chosen topic that means something to them and learn how to express it, not only clearly, but in a way that communicates something that they have learnt. Role play and improvisation build on this and allow them to expand their empathy, social understanding and personal knowledge of the world.
If there’s a topic that is too difficult to communicate or needs exploring further, acting through puppetry is a great way for a child to distance themselves from a character will learning more about the situation they are in. In this way, they can discuss with their friends in a creative way and through play, how they understand the world and how they feel about it.
Working on this new knowledge and experience, children at theatre school can then express themselves through anything from poetry to music, a monologue to a play. As they open up their own discussions and share their work, they become comfortable on the stage and therefore more secure in their personal lives.
It might be most clear to see the confidence a child can gain from taking to a stage to showcase their creativity and new skills, as well as the understanding that their voice should be heard, but there are many other emotional and characteristic growths behind that confidence that reveal a whole load of other important personal assets.