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drama classes - do yours go?

(15 Posts)
roller Mon 03-Jan-05 16:37:57

So many parents in my area send their children to drama classes (usually involving a WHOLE Saturday morning)- my question is WHY?

The reason seems to be a secret - so if yours go or you run drama classes for children maybe you can enlighten me.

Feel as if I am possibly making a big mistake by not sending mine but what is the real point? So many children can't all go into acting/media. I feel that my children's friends will all turn into the best little "drama queen" or "fake" at times and I will never know if they are acting or for real!!

sammac Mon 03-Jan-05 17:04:57

I know that it has helped my dd to vastly improve her self- confidence. She was someone who would never volunteer to speak or perform at school assemblies etc. She had no interest in going to dancing classes either.

She also had the chance to sit drama exams run by London Academy of Dramatic Art and did really well, and achieved a higher grade than some of her friends who she considered to be 'better' than her. She was very proud of herself , s of course we were.

They also had a summer school for a week and she ended up with the lead role- I could never have forseen her doing that a year before. They are putting on 'Jungle Book'next week and she has the part of King Louie, which she is chuffed at.

She will never be an actor or has no ambitions to do so, but she enjoys the weekly sessions,socialises with her friends, and they have helped her self- confidence. Might not be everybodies cup of tea but you know your children best.

roller Mon 03-Jan-05 17:09:29

thank you sammac. I did wonder if one of the reasons was building confidence (or character building as they seem to like to push) but they seem so expensive when I have looked plus the children I know are all or seem very confident already but I can understand your reason/reasoning. Thanks for your time - - -
any other opinions/reasons awaited with great interest.

Christie Mon 03-Jan-05 17:26:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

juniperdewdrop Mon 03-Jan-05 17:41:24

My DS1 went to stagecoach too but only liked the drama bit. Am now trying to find a drama class in our town for him as he is good at it. He wants to be a zoologist though

A friend's dd went for the same reasons as sammac's and christine's, to instill confidence and it worked.

tigermoth Mon 03-Jan-05 20:59:55

I went to drama and elocution classes from the age of 7 to the age of 15. I went through a cripplingly shy phase from the age of 11 to 20, so those drama classes didn't beat my shyness at all! However, they made me good at reciting things in public (I wasn't ever shy about that). Still shy the minute I came off stage, though. The classes also gave me confidence in my memory. Learning lines and poems trained my memory definitely. I found I could learn lots of stuff parrot fashion for secondary school exams, and got good marks because of this.

My sons are both born confident, very unlike me at their age. My oldest (10) seems to have some flair for drama at the moment. He had one of the lead parts in the school play, learned his lines easily, said them well, and got praise from the teachers for this. I have had lots of parents who saw him coming up to me saying how well he did and asking me if he is going to do drama classes. It was a bit frightening tbh. My son would far rather join a cricket club.

I tried him out at drama classes when he was 7 years. He didn't get much from them, and saw the improvisation and role play aspect as an opportunity to be cheeky and generally disorderly. He shows no great desire to act. He certainly doesn't need drama classes to make him more outgoing. He would hate the dance element of many saturday schools. I am therefore waiting till he starts secondary school next year where he will be able to join the drama club, I hope. And I also hope it will not cost too much I was mose impressed by the drama provision at all the secondary schools we saw. I see no reason for rushing him into drama classes before he's 11 years old. It is not like gymnnastics or swimming where it's good to start young. If he is good at drama, he can find this out when he's older.

A very personal view, but on my experience and my sons' I question how much value drama classes have to primary school aged children. I am sure some children find them fun, and good luck to them, but as for the personal growth and development promises some schools make, I remain a little cynical.

codswallop Mon 03-Jan-05 21:00:27

Roller think they go to fob off hteeir kids?!!

juniperdewdrop Mon 03-Jan-05 21:29:36

you do have a point there codswallop as there's plenty of kids who seem to do nothing but school and other stuff at night/weekends They're far too busy IMO and never get time with the families or to play.

DS1 goes to sportscoach now on saturday mornings but only because he loves it, soon as he says he's had enough he's out.

Marina Tue 04-Jan-05 10:13:02

If you have a local rep theatre or arts centre see if they do their own youth theatre programme. I went to such a project in SE London from the age of 13 to 17 and it changed my life and many others who attended it too. This was way before there was any general market for mini stage-school type stuff so it was all acting, theatre games and improv with no singing or dancing, and three productions a year, one devised.
Of the people I worked with, several are actors now (including Jude Law and Ellie Beaven), one is a senior stage manager working for Cameron Mackintosh, one runs her own improv/TIE company, one's a BBC journalist and several, like me, are working in arts admin/education. All of us have an abiding love of live theatre/performance, thanks to just one inspirational youth theatre leader.
I've got no experience of Stagecoach tbh and am not sure I'd send my children to it, but there are some brilliant alternatives out there.

tigermoth Tue 04-Jan-05 12:18:46

marina, I haven't forgotten that contact you gave me years ago. My son's name is still down for the group. I am going to check with them again. I believe the group is mostly for secondary school aged children but if ds1 is genuinely interested (has to be no hint of a dance element), he might start before he moves up to secondary school in September.

Marina Tue 04-Jan-05 12:26:54

Deffo no dancing. Different management now, but still a very good group I hear.
Ahem! I saw the local paper! Five out of five pumpkins to that boy

Blu Tue 04-Jan-05 12:56:58

Roller - and anyone else who might be pondering this q - I have taught/led many youth drama classes and groups. The only real reason to enable them to go is because they want to, and enjoy it. Personally, I dread the kind of parents who send kids because they think it is a fast-track to the X factor or other cringeworthy child-star-dom.

Well run drama is about imagination, empathy, communication and team-work - miles away from 'showing off' or personal stardom. And although it can often be a route to a vocation, it is just as importantly a constructrive social activity. I have known many, many young people blossom in drama - either discovering and unlocking real talent, or simply getting confidence and self-esteem from finding out what they can achieve and being facilitated to produce something impressive.
Like Marina, I personally would check out Youth Theatre's connected to local theatres or arts centres rather than the private 'stage school' type classes - and they will be MUCH cheaper.

posyhairdresser Tue 04-Jan-05 13:28:22

My 5 yr old does 1 hour a week - in my view it's supposed to be fun, an outlet for creativity and useful for building social skills.

Also I am obsessed by theatre so I would like her to share my passion for it! I am not aiming for her to be a child performer, just to have a good time.

roller Tue 04-Jan-05 16:37:18

Thank you so much to everyone - it's been most helpful. It is now one avenue that I wont worry about my children missing out on - phew! Thanks

hopefulmover Mon 10-Jan-05 06:09:58

when I was at school the local theatre was one of the drug taking cetres in our town - the other was my school So I'd be a bit wary of too close an involvement in theatricals for my children - who are too shy to want to do it anyway. I've suggested stagecoach to a friend with a child who needs to be the centre of attention and loved the starring role in the school play.

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