Drama classes for Adults | The rewards of taking a class
Drama for Adults
You don’t have to be an aspiring actor to reap huge rewards from taking a drama class. Theatre can provide people of all ages and backgrounds with skills that can be useful in day to day life, as well as being a lot of fun and great way to meet new people.
Here is a small breakdown of some of the rewards you will reap from taking an acting class, regardless of your age:
Confidence & Social skills
- Acting classes will help with bringing you out of your shell. Whether you are a shy, retiring introvert, or someone who already feels comfortable showing the world how fabulous you already are, everyone can learn something new about themselves through drama.
- The biggest lesson people usually learn is that it is OK to fail, and that in a way, failing is encouraged, as it will teach you to explore new areas that you wouldn’t usually visit. It’s all about coming out of your comfort zone. This can be scary for some, but more often than not it will allow you to see things in a brand new, and usually really exiting light! Once you have broken through your comfort zone in the safe space of a drama class, you will find that this new found bravery seeps through into your day-to-day life. You will see that you no longer have to bite your tongue when you don’t necessarily want to, or that you can hold your own in a conversation you might have previously found intimidating. You will learn to see that there are areas of life that, previously unexplored, are not as terrifying as they once seemed.
- Drama classes will also help you to be more open. If you attend a drama class that covers improvisation, which many do, you will learn that the biggest step of improvising is to learn how to say ‘yes’ – to be open to others, to accept what you are given and build upon it. It’s all about taking on board what you are offered, and moving forwards. Staying open to new ideas, open to change and, probably most obviously, more open to people, is a skill that transfers wonderfully into your life and helps tenfold with confidence, especially in social situations.
- Another big part of acting is learning how to listen. This is something any decent drama coach will drill in to you.It might sound obvious but learning to really listen to people is, although incredibly simple, an invaluable life skill - one that a lot of people forget about. Not only does it take the pressure off of yourself, easing self-consciousness and any feelings of discomfort or awkwardness, but it will also open your mind to others experiences and struggles, helping with empathy and all round social brilliance!
- You will also learn through drama, that learning to show your vulnerable side is not a bad thing! Acting will help you to become in tune with the sides of yourself that you might otherwise be ashamed of or want to hide away – the fear, sadness, or even grumpiness! A drama class allows you a place to air these less positive sides to yourself, and share with other people the perhaps more unattractive sides to your personality. Once you have been brave and done this a few times, you will experience a wonderful feeling of acceptance. Not only from yourself, but from the others in the class. Human beings are complex and multi- faceted creatures, and it’s a wonderful feeling to be in a space where you can express these parts of your being with other like-minded and non-judgemental people. You will also find that this trickles down into your social life as you learn how to effectively and concisely communicate how you feel to others.
- A final confidence- boosting perk that comes with frequently attending a drama class is the knowledge that you are learning new material on a regular basis, and broadening your knowledge of play texts, playwrights, theatres and theatre history. Everyone should be excited by learning, and learning about a topic you are already interested in through a hands- on, practical medium is a great way to get started!
- A very tangible pro that comes with attending a drama class is getting to know yourself better. We could all benefit from questioning our beliefs, challenging what we think we know about ourselves, and pushing our boundaries, and acting will help with all of the above!
- When taking on a new character, you will usually, depending on the technique used by the teacher, find yourself connecting traits within the character to those that you would also find in yourself. By turning the spotlight on to your own psyche in this way it can be a great chance to self-reflect and study aspects of your personality that would otherwise go unexamined.
- You will also learn to become hyper- aware of what makes you tick, what makes you uncomfortable, what sends you red with rage, and what makes you tear up. Being knowledgeable about yourself in this way can really help when building a character, but also, in reverse; by examining a character and what pieces them together as a person, you can create a deeper self awareness that only ever helps in the real world.
- Depending on what kind of class you decide to take, movement classes can really help with bodily awareness, acceptance, and confidence. A lot of drama classes offer movement as part of the training anyway, as a huge part of acting is about control through the body and having the ability to alter physically in order to portray other people.
- Many of us have physical traits, ticks and habits that we are not even aware of, and a good acting/ movement class can help you to locate these traits and figure out where they have come from or how they are potentially limiting you in your life, as well as in your acting. You will learn how to free up your movement, breathe deeper and ultimately move through the world in a freer and more relaxed manner.
- Alexander technique can be a brilliant way of taking control over your body, especially if you are perhaps not ready for the more theatrical classes. It is a very gentle form of body awareness that uses breathe, gentle movement, and manipulation to give you a better understanding of the way you move, and help to free up any tensions you have built up over the years.
- Finally, drama is, I believe, one of the best stress- busters out there! It forces you to be in the moment, to listen, react, and be present in a very mindful way. It gives you a chance to escape from the pressures of ‘real life’ without totally running away from them. It allows you to reflect gently on the way your brain works, and gives you an opportunity to check in with yourself in a way that you perhaps wouldn’t otherwise.
- You will meet new like-minded people, hopefully make friends and find new creative networks to interact with. Expressing yourself creatively can be an incredibly liberating and freeing experience and even better when the experience is shared with others. It’s the ultimate form of teamwork – something we should all be better at!
So go on, be brave, and give it a go. You don’t have to be an aspiring actor to feel the benefits of drama. Good luck!
By Lynn Beaumont