Wondering if your child’s dramatic retelling of their day is a sign that they’re destined for the stage? Want to nourish their energy and passion for life while they’re young? Is your young person in need of a welcoming and collaborative environment outside of school?
If your child or young person has a flair for acting, there are some signs to look out for! They could have a talent that can be encouraged with training and a like-minded community around them…
Acting Vs Performing
There is a notable difference between acting and performing. In fact, acting is more like a subtype of performance, and it can be an incredible thing to be a part of.
Many young children have experienced performing, usually in the school nativity play or annual show. But parents and teachers don’t expect much from these in terms of talent or ability. Instead, they’re simply given lines and a costume and told when to speak. Or baaaa if they’re the sheep! It doesn’t get more simplified than that.
Performances such as these are formulaic, produced to make parents say aw and give teachers a (fairly) easy ride in production. But although entertaining, that’s not acting.
Acting goes much deeper – and it might surprise you to know that almost EVERY child has acted before, and usually in a convincing way. Acting by definition is connecting with a character, creating a persona that’s believable to others – and to oneself.
Now, think of a time when your child played ‘pretend’. When they were a police officer or vet or shopkeeper. They were immersed in the game, actually embodying that person. Now, THAT’S acting.
But how do you know that your child might be able to take that skill and transfer it to the stage if they want to… or even a career?
Emotions are ever-present in our lives, and equally in acting. If you’ve ever cried at a film, TV show or play, then you know what it is to have your feelings manipulated by an actor. That might sound sinister, but it’s altogether fun!
Acting is about portraying emotions in a way that is relatable and it’s not something everyone can do. It can be difficult, draining even, and can be improved with training. But it must come from a place of feeling.
Sadness is more than a tear rolling down a cheek – it uses posture, body language, words and non-verbal communication to convince an audience. Some children find this all comes naturally to them, while others simply have the starting point for it.
If your child is highly empathetic, then they have a building block to creating great emotion within a performance.
Performances are completely made up. They’re a grown-up version of playing pretend when you truly think about it. It takes someone who can immerse themselves in a fake world to bring a performance into reality.
It would be difficult for any actor to perform without being able to put themselves into the shoes and mindset of their character and that imaginary world.
So much of acting comes from the individual’s ability to convince themselves – and the audience – that what they’re portraying could be real.
If your child has an extraordinary imagination, they’ll find it easier to inhabit roles, characters and new worlds – even without real-life experience of them. If they can imagine it, they can act it. This is important to remember, since many people think acting is based solely on technical ability, when in fact it’s rooted in what most children do best.
Je Ne Sais Quoi
Actors have something about them that’s hard to name. Something that makes them watchable, even when they’re not performing.
If you find your child is often the centre of attention (and not because they’re being loud, exuberant or showing off) then they may possess the quality of an actor.
It can be hard to put your finger on exactly what makes an actor – or a performer of any kind for that matter. There is a certain something, though.
It’s pretty easy to spot, whether your child always manages to charm others when you’re out or impress their peers with whatever new moves they’ve learnt lately.
What To Do With A Child With Acting Talent?
Many children have the potential to find a real love for acting, and this is a kind of love that can last their whole lives. The best thing to do for them? Find a place and community that will nurture and grow that skill along with your child!
If you think your child has a talent for acting, we’d love to be part of their performance journey. Try a session as part of one of the Theatretrain companies near you, and see how our experienced professionals can bring that talent out.