July 10, 2023

Making a Bigger Gesture

As a country, we tend to be polite with strangers, we might talk about the weather or how quickly the time flies but we queue, and we sometimes allow space for others. My point is it’s not in our national character to be socially extravagant as people unless we win big or have had one too many at the bar.

You can see this if you ask a group of young people to move around a space. Everyone picks up the same pace and you are unlikely to see anyone be fast or slow. As a result, when you want a group to sing out or make a bold movement it doesn’t come easy for them. I think this comes from our education where we learn not to stand out, not to draw attention. Show-offs are frowned upon.

In performing arts sessions It’s different. We have a saying – dare to be different! But that doesn’t mean people can instantly be bolder, you have to work for it and coax it out of them. The trick is to be surrounded by others who are also going for it – then it’s a case of – come on in the water’s lovely.

I think this natural reticence is what makes British actors a bit special. There’s a sensitivity inside that is hidden by jokiness with friends or a reluctance to speak, beyond the weather, to strangers. Being on our guard is a defence mechanism. And taking the mickey out of others cuts them down to size.

If we can get our young people to take little risks with the sound they make or extend their movement we help them have social confidence. If they take a deep breath and release a big sound and not be embarrassed about it, think how it encourages their self-belief. If they push their arms and legs out strongly in a dance, they start to own their space instead of apologising for it.  Eventually, you can ask them to walk around the space and they will do so but they’ll vary their pace, use different levels, do it with power or gentleness and be much more individual  – making their own decisions rather than checking out everyone around them and adjusting to be the same.

This is an area where the performing arts give young people real tools for life – the strength to be yourself and not fear what others think – or as Captain Kirk put it “ to boldly go where no man has gone before.” It may be where a man (or woman) has gone before but going boldly that may be a first for them!

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.

Related Articles

Summer Schools Make a Difference

Kevin Dowsett, Artistic Director of Theatretrain, highlights the transformative power of residential summer schools. These immersive experiences allow young people to step away from their daily routines and engage deeply in creative pursuits. At Theatretrain's summer school, participants form lasting friendships, hone their talents, and discover new dimensions of themselves through intensive workshops and collaborative activities.
Read more >

Company Call

Last Sunday, Theatretrain held the company call for their 102nd large-scale show. Artistic Director Kevin Dowsett witnessed seven Theatretrain companies, who had been rehearsing since February, come together for the first time. In just three hours, they transformed a school theatre into a hive of creativity and talent, setting the stage for an unforgettable performance. Read the full blog to dive into the details of this extraordinary day!
Read more >

Sometimes We’re All Empty Vessels

Dive into the captivating world of human behaviour and self-perception with Kevin Dowsett, Artistic Director of Theatretrain. From actors' veiled insecurities to the art of projecting confidence, Kevin explores the intricacies of the human condition. Discover how the stage becomes a training ground for courage, humility, and self-assurance, shaping tomorrow's resilient adults.
Read more >

The Best People Care

Enter the vibrant realm of Theatretrain alongside Artistic Director Kevin Dowsett, where character isn't measured by interactions with animals, but by how we treat children and young people. Join us as we explore the dichotomy of theatre technicians, from begrudging gatekeepers to enthusiastic allies, and the profound influence they have on the stage.
Read more >

Knock Knock Who’s there?

Join Kevin Dowsett, Artistic Director of Theatretrain, and his daughter Grace on a delightful journey through the whimsical world of knock-knock jokes. From Grace's infectious enthusiasm to Shakespearean echoes, each jest is a playful dance of control and delight that transcends generations.
Read more >

Going Mobile

Discover the impact of mobile phones on young minds in this insightful blog by Theatretrain's Artistic Director, Kevin Dowsett. With 25% of 5-7-year-olds owning phones, concerns arise. Yet, Theatretrain offers an escape, fostering a focus on arts and connection, free from distractions. Join the discussion on reclaiming youth in a smartphone-dominated world.
Read more >