January 29, 2024

Go Caitlin Go!

In today's blog, Kevin Dowsett, Artistic Director of Theatretrain, congratulates Caitlin, a Theatretrain Sutton student who, at 17, secured a place at Oxford University to study Biology. Dowsett highlights the crucial life skills nurtured through performing arts, detailing 60 skills in his upcoming book. Navigating a dynamic world, he underscores the significance of qualities such as collaboration, adaptability, and creative thinking, asserting that these skills transcend specific professions, shaping well-rounded individuals prepared for life's challenges.

Today I’m banging the drum for Caitlin, a 17-year-old Theatretrain Sutton student who has just been offered a place to study Biology next year at  Oxford University. Well done Caitlin. I know you joined us at 9 years of age. I also know that the Russell Group of Universities specifically look for things like performing arts on students’ applications.

Ability to collaborate and work in a team
Awareness of other peoples’ feelings and culture
Communication skills – verbal and non-verbal
Confidence and presentation skills
Coping with stressful situations
Creative thinking and problem-solving
Critical thinking
Experience in dealing with emotions.

All these skills crop up constantly in the work we do. I’m shortly publishing a book that details 60 of these skills that young people learn from our classes. Theatre, like sport, pulls out many life skills along the way.

We live in an ever-changing and globalised world. These days it’s not only what you know about your subject that counts but also the many other skills that you need in the workplace. Employers want people who they can work with – relatable, team players who have empathy and understanding. People who are capable of thinking outside the box and on their feet, improvisers who can explain things straightforwardly and clearly. These are the skills that the doctors, lawyers and teachers of the future will need alongside their professional knowledge – much more than box tickers.

We have moved on from thinking that performing arts is just about turning out actors, dancers and singers. Sure some will, like former student Florence Hunt who plays Hyacinth Bridgerton in the series of that name, but a bigger number will be enriched in other ways from the different experiences they learned from theatre work. The wonderful thing is that all these skills are transferable to practically any job. The performing arts genuinely are a preparation for life.

It would be lovely to know in 10-15 years what Caitlin thought her performing arts training might have benefitted her when she was older.

Theatretrain, a nationwide provider of weekend theatre schools for young people aged 4-18, specialises in weekly classes in acting, singing, and dancing. An emphasis is placed on learning valuable life skills such as confidence, empathy, courage, and resilience. If you know a child who loves to dance, act and sing or could do with a little confidence boost why not visit to find out what our performing arts classes can offer your child at one of our 80 locations across the UK.

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