Each week we work with Omnibus Theatre group-a multi-award winning theatre in Clapham-to learn some of the skills of drama.
In our drama sessions, children engage in a wide range of theatre skills. Scriptwriting and reading, movement practice, vocal skills, improvisation and devising are some of the areas that are covered. The children also use the drama lessons to focus on their termly performances such as class assemblies, Ramadan performances and end of year productions.
A recent example has been our exploration of fairy tales. Through looking at stock characters in popular children’s stories, the young people have experimented with how different physicalities denote status, and how placing tension in different parts of your body can change the meaning of the words that are spoken. Storytelling and narration techniques were also developed, with special emphasis on projection, diction and enunciation.
Another example of recent work is our investigation of television advertisements. As a group we explored different tropes and themes that are present in adverts, and how the actors and actresses in them perform to achieve their purpose (i.e. selling you something). We then explored how we can act on stage to evoke different emotions and feelings in the audience. What can we do to make the audience feel sympathetic towards us? Confused? Angry? What can we do to make them laugh? By doing this the children engage in a wide range of transferable skills that improve social interaction inside and outside the classroom.
Drama is essential to young people’s development because it provides the perfect environment for cross-curricular learning. Specifically, drama has been proven to increase literacy, speaking and listening, creativity, leadership skills and self confidence. In later schooling, several studies have shown that there is a correlation between a strong drama curriculum and an improved standardised exam performance, particularly in reading, speaking and listening. Drama enables children to engage with different cultures and values, and apply critical thinking to the world we live in and exercise roles of responsibility in a safe environment.