In February we didn’t know the meaning of lockdown beyond controlling a prison riot? Then suddenly it became our life. We know human beings are resourceful and able to adapt but even so can we deal with all this? Well it seems that most of us can – perhaps because we have to.
Maybe we are discovering that we are more resilient with deeper reserves than we thought. Maybe some of us are even seeing benefits from this enforced separation and shut-down of our world.
But as an organisation delivering lessons in acting, singing and dancing, we wonder what effects this will have on the mental health our young people. It will surely be a thing that stays with them for their life in the way that 100 years ago World War One affected the people who lived through it. My feeling is the performing arts can help young people find their way through what is happening. Stories take us to imagined worlds, different places and give our brains the chance to be free from the here and now. We know there is a link between singing and dancing energising our bodies, oxygenating the blood, raising the pulse and releasing endorphins. But there’s another aspect of the performing arts that generally isn’t talked about a lot in theatre classes where the emphasis is understandably on group activity such as fitting steps, words, songs together, being a team – building a performance.
There is also the individual – the lone person who is making this journey in the work. The virtual world of the internet cannot replace what we do in our training in acting, singing and dancing because the work is about togetherness and closeness. You can be together on-line but it lacks the intensity of communicating in the moment with each other and reaching an audience. That’s special and that’s aliveness you can’t simulate.
I’m building a sense of the self into our theatre training. This is a time to look more closely at the human being at the centre of all this. You. Teacher or pupil how do you use your past and your present with all your feelings, hopes and dreams in what you do? That is the starting point of everything and the source of your creativity. Your training in the performing arts should go constantly back to YOU because through the work you will make sense of the world and your place in it. That sharper awareness of your separateness will make you stronger and more ready for the closeness again when it comes.
Our professional virtual theatre classes in acting, singing and dancing continue online. Theatretrain is offering FREE top-quality performing arts classes to all young people in this time of national crisis, providing them with an outlet that encourages confidence, creativity and comradeship, while also positively contributing to their overall fitness and mental health. To register for FREE visit https://bit.ly/2WXempV.