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News from Head of Secondary, Izabella Słoczyńska

13 March 2015

The Secondary School production of “Footloose” will be performed on Thursday 19 March, Friday 20 March and Saturday 21 March in the coming week. Tickets are available at the main reception desk.

There will also be a drama club offered as part of the LEAP programme this summer term for Secondary School students who wish to participate in a school comedy play. The performance is planned for 18 June and the play is “Arsenic and Old Lace.” We are very fortunate to have a qualified drama teacher from the USA who will direct the play for our students, and rehearsals will take place on two evenings for 1.5 hours every week. This project will be introduced to our students during assembly next week.

According to several studies, involvement in performing Arts addresses the skills which benefit children's education and development in five general areas: physical development/kinesthetic skills, artistic development /drama and theatre skills, mental development/thinking skills, personal development/intra-personal skills, and social development/interpersonal skills.

While some parents fear participation in drama will damage their child’s academic progress, a UCLA study concluded that students involved in the arts tend to have higher academic performance and better standardized test scores -- nearly 100 points better on the SAT, according to a separate study by The College Board in the USA.

Academic gains aren’t the only benefits. There are the obvious ones: improved self-confidence, better public speaking skills, but studies indicate  students show other gains as well, such as the “ability to work with an ensemble in cooperative ventures" and the "ability to work through consensus and differences or obstacles to achieve a goal.” A play requires students to follow a time line, to use self-discipline, and to accept feedback. The ability to speak confidently in front of a group is an advantage for any career.

If your child is interested in getting involved in drama and performing arts, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Drama is not just for the outgoing. There are many ways for children to participate even if they’re afraid of the spotlight. Your child can play an ensemble role – a face in the crowd or a voice in chorus – which gives him/her stage time without the pressure. If he/she never, ever wants to be on stage, find out about backstage crew positions – building the sets, controlling the lights, managing the costumes. At many schools, there are tons of would-be actors, but never enough crew members, and without the crew, the actors would be lost!

Sometimes, disappointment can lead to growth. Not everyone can get a plum part in the school play. If your child comes home sad that he/she didn't get the role he/she wanted, encourage him/her to politely ask the director why. Most teachers will give specific, constructive suggestions. Learning to absorb and accept critique is a key life skill-- whether on the stage or off it.

Be prepared for a time commitment. A production is a lot of work, and your child will have to attend lots of rehearsals. Make room in your schedule – once your child is in the show, practice isn’t really an “optional” activity. Many parents think they can take their child out early, drop them off late, or skip rehearsals entirely, which causes serious problems for the rest of the cast.

Keep your perspective – and help your child keep his/hers. On opening night, you'll have all eyes on your little star, even if he/she’s playing the second daisy from the left. But in reality, it’s not all about your child. One of drama’s greatest gifts is that it forces children to work together as a team, even if they don’t know or like each other. Your child needs to see themselves as part of something bigger than themselves, which means showing up for rehearsals even when he/she would rather do something else, and being gracious to his/her “teammates” – especially if he/she is the star of the show..

Get involved. The typical drama teacher’s responsibilities would be divided between five or six different people in the professional theatre world. Any help you offer will be greatly appreciated, whether you donate goods, build sets, sew costumes,help with refreshments or hand out programs during the performance. Your contribution can really make a difference.

We are all really looking forward to seeing “Footlose” next week and I would particularly like to thank Mr Doherty and Mrs Porter and the student cast who have given so many weekends and evenings to rehearse. Special thanks to Mr Porter, Miss Krasnodebska and Mrs Coslow for additional support.

Footloose Tickets cost 10PLN per adult, 5PLN per student and children under the age of 6 do not pay, but still need a ticket in order to help us plan the seating arrangements. All performances start at 19.00.

See you there!