Drama Education for Kids: Inspiring Little Ones Through the Arts

Published 21 March 2018 at 18:30

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Drama Education for Kids: Inspiring Little Ones Through the Arts

It’s long been known that drama education has much more to offer to children than just the dream of becoming a famous actor some time in the future. A drama class engages kids in a wide range of activities that encourage little ones to push the boundaries of personal comfort, to collaborate with others and realize that public speaking is not so scary after all. Add to this the opportunity to express yourself through art, development of aesthetic awareness, language skills and, last but not least, imagination and you will get an unbeatable combo for all-round development of a child, which is something pretty much every parent wants for their kids.

TickiKids team has had a pleasure to discuss drama education for kids Ruby Lim-Yang, Artistic Director of ACT 3 International and ACT 3 Drama Academy, who pioneered in making theatre in Singapore accessible to the children by co-founding the country’s first professional theatre company focused on the young, at a time where only amateur theatre was the mainstream. ACT 3 International sees its aim in inspiring the lives of the young generation through the Arts, seeing kids not just as the audience, but encouraging them to immerse in the creative process as well.

- Ruby, it’s a great pleasure for TickiKids to be interviewing someone who stood at the origins of professional youth theatre in Singapore. We are very curious about what you are working on at the moment.

- Thank you for thinking of me! ACT 3 International and ACT 3 Drama Academy are very focused on children’s theatre and drama, as well as Arts education and enrichment for children. We are always busy developing new work and programmes and 2018 looks set to be a very exciting year for us. We are recognising the global shift in Children’s Theatre in Europe, South America and Asia towards programmes for babies and the very young, and are proud to announce significant milestones this year in establishing several ground-breaking works specifically devised for this age group (0 to 5 years old).

It is more important now than ever before to advocate for Theatre and the Arts for children. Theatre for children continues to evolve with artists in this specialised field creating sophisticated and high-quality work. We are in tuned with this ever-evolving art form and eager to be at the forefront of it all.

I have just come back from Bologna, Italy where we presented Archipelago at the Festival Visioni Di Futuro, Visioni Di Teatro (International Festival of Theatre and Culture for Early Childhood). This is an original play devised specifically for young ones from 0 to 5 years old marks the fruition of a two year-long cultivation between the company and renowned practitioner of theatre for early years – Roberto Frabetti – founder of La Baracca-Testoni Ragazzi in Bologna, Italy.

From 22 May to 3 June 2018, we will be presenting the second installment of ACT3i Festival where we will be presenting shows from England, Scotland, Italy and Lithuania, as well as the return of Archipelago. We strongly advocate the benefits of theatre on babies, and their right to Theatre – even at such a tender age, aesthetic moments are key to the neurological development of infants.

- Children today are so busy studying, so, no matter how beneficial for a child’s development drama may be, parents will think twice before adding it to their children’s tight schedule. What do you think about this situation?

- On the contrary, parents are prioritising a holistic, well-balanced life for their children. Drama allows children to explore, discover and imagine – attributes that parents appreciate as valuable life skills to inculcate in their little ones.

- Does it seem to you that children in Singapore have enough access to theatre and art in general?

- More can be done, for sure! For starters, there is a need for more support for artists to make work for the young, and more resources to develop and to present these works. Ideally, I would like to see many more productions and spaces for Children’s Theatre and accompanying that, material and resources to be made more available – essentially for children’s theatre to permeate through the educational and social fabric of our young.

- If it seems to parents that their child has talent for drama, music or being on stage, do you think it is important to start developing it from a very early age? In general, is there any age limit?

- Fundamentally, it is unwise to pressure your child. Of course, if you find that he or she has a natural inclination, by all means, please build on it. If his or her interest is short-lived, celebrate the good that has come from that and trust the journey was not a wasted one!

- What about kids that don’t appear natural born performers? Is a drama class worth trying for them?

- Far from what most might believe, drama for children is not primarily about performing. It is about developing the tools and platform for personal confidence, self-belief and self-esteem, and to encourage the child to tap into the imagination, develop creative thinking, and build lifelong applicable skills at dealing with people and life as a whole.

- Is there any advise on how to choose a drama school for a little one?

- A good way is to experience it. At ACT 3 Drama Academy, we offer trial classes for the child to just try it. Seek advice from others who have experienced drama classes to hear their experiences. Although every child is unique and different at the stages of development, it is important to do a bit of research, experiment, and give the programme a chance to work its “magic” on engaging the child. Drama is, on the surface, a fun and easy area to access. The child will say if it is something he/she likes, in an instant. If there is no real connection for some reason, don’t be disappointed, try again at a later stage of the child’s development.

For information on how you can get your child involved with ACT 3 Drama Academy as well as for the information about their upcoming events, please, check their page.

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