January 8, 2024

The Power of Drama

In a gripping reflection on the recent ITV drama "Mr Bates versus the Post Office," Theatretrain Artistic Director Kevin Dowsett delves into the national uproar caused by the exposé. He explores how the powerful narrative, shedding light on the Post Office scandal, catalysed public opinion, revealing the transformative impact of arts in unveiling societal truths.

Last week’s ITV presentation of Mr Bates versus the Post Office has caused a national furore. It’s the story of how sub-postmasters and mistresses up and down the country were held responsible for miscalculating their returns when actually there was a fault with the Horizon computer technology. It’s been a national scandal for many years.  

But over 4 nights we watched the harrowing story of people who lost their lives, their livelihoods and their health.  Some went to prison and some even took their lives. Suddenly we were immersed in the story and understood how ordinary people were lied to by an institution. No wonder the politicians are now falling over themselves trying to solve the problem when before they had no interest. 

I want to take a step back and ask the question. How would it be this morning if that drama didn’t go out? Would we be where we now are?

It goes to the heart of what the arts do in our lives. As Shakespeare says it holds up a mirror for us to see ourselves and allow us to understand the human angle on events more clearly and oh boy did this do that. 

I think it will become a piece of TV history and be a game changer. The powers that be got away with it for so long because each person was isolated and believed themselves to be the only one with a problem because they were told so. 

I love the way that drama can give us insight into other people’s lives and hold up a theme like injustice and take it apart, in human terms, piece by piece. This bigger platform has created what I think is an unstoppable force. 

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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