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Cool skills to have / habits to form for personal development – Learning Theatre / Drama

Tuesday May 6th, 2008 by fathersez

I am not sure if learning and participating in amateur drama can be listed as a cool skill, but there are tons of advantages.

I never took part in school plays or concerts. And in University, I was in the Science stream, majoring in Physics. A major more associated with guys with thick spectacles carrying even thicker books and having their noses buried in these books all day and maybe even all night.  

Luckily for me, I had friends who, though were Science students, were also into drama. They allowed me to take a peek into this world. They participated in a couple of plays and I would attend their rehearsals quite frequently.

I got to meet their fellow drama artists and the others involved like lighting people, props people, costumes people etc. I enjoyed the easy and close camaraderie the group had and the seemingly intellectual discussions they had. 

I think the benefits of drama in shaping children have been well documented. It helps in improving vocabulary, reading comprehension, and other areas like building trust and self acceptance. 

What does drama have for those of us adults, perhaps just starting out in our working lives?  

My friends who were amateur actors were confident and articulate people. They had great people skills, mixed around easily and could always make interesting conversation. Though I did not know at that time, I now suspect much of this had a lot to do with their participation in theatre.  

They are using these skills to great use in their current carriers.  

One is a business journalist. His views are respected and he is often called upon to give talks to A-list foreign investment banks and fund managers on what his thoughts are on the future of our country. A task he does with such creativity and credibility that he has a waiting list.  

Another is holding a senior post in an ASEAN organization, where he meets with very senior Government leaders and talks about policy issues that should be implemented. 

Though I had the chance to audition for some roles, I flunked them. My two experiences with amateur theatre were being part of the lighting team for a play and being the stage manager for another.  

Is theatre impractical? Nay! says Gallaudet University.  

It lists the practical advantages of theatre.  

Better self-expression, creative problem solving, motivation and commitment, willingness to work cooperatively and ability to work independently, better time management, adaptability, flexibility and ability to focus under pressure, self discipline, self confidence and a healthy self image to boot. 

The Simple Dollar listed at the top of his 9 simple ways to stand out in our career, the act of “making presentations.” He implores us to volunteer each and every chance we get for an opportunity to make any presention. 

For those of us who fear public speaking, (and this article confirms that we are by far, the majority), SD’s advice seems like a death sentence. For theatre participants, it becomes more like a walk in the park. 

So if you have a chance, join a theatre group and become an amateur actor or actress.  Besides learning skills that will catapult you ahead in your career, you’ll get to meet new and interesting friends and have fun!

And be cool!


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8 Comments for “Cool skills to have / habits to form for personal development – Learning Theatre / Drama”

On May 6, 2008
At 9:18 pm

In college, I auditioned for a play. Didn’t get the guts until Senior year and I didn’t get the part. In the end, I’m glad because that play turned out rather bad. It was an awkward adaptation.

I’m really glad that I did public speaking classes and that I got a chance to spend all that time practicing for the audition. At some point, I wouldn’t mind trying out community theatre.

On May 8, 2008
At 9:35 am

As a Drama teacher I can endorse what is said in this post - however it is still such a small and fractured vision of what Drama Education really has to offer. Drama Education, particularly the rich, encompassing critical pedagogy that underpins the best Drama classes is very student-centred, generative, process-oriented, and productively problematic.

Drama at its heart is an interdisciplinary process - and as such it cannot but challenge paradigmatic limitations.

The positive student outcomes listed in your discussion are not the result of being in a play or witnessing a play but rather about the processes involved along the way.

A good Drama education will demand that students are responsible for their own learning, critically reflective on their own ways of working and those of other people, step into the role as co-creators of work…

…in one word - PROCESS is the key to a sound Drama education.

On May 8, 2008
At 10:06 am

Mrs. M,

Looks like you (after all “you” made yourself) have given yourself a great grounding.

Public speaking is, perhaps, just as good as drama and theatre when it comes to preparing us for presentations, self confidence, etc in real working like.

Good for you

On May 8, 2008
At 10:09 am


Thank you so much for chiming in. I hope I did not try to pass myself off as an expert. It’s clear that you are a far better person at pointing out exactly what drama/theatre learning is all about and what it can do for us.

I am really glad we agree that it has tons of advantages.

Best regards

by JHS
On May 12, 2008
At 12:43 am

I studied drama throughout my school years and was a part of more productions than I can remember — on stage and backstage. It was a wonderful training ground in many ways, but especially for my work as an attorney, public speaker, teacher, and trainer. In combination with my musical background, I have no fear making presentations, know how to prepare, and have enjoyed a great deal of positive feedback that I am completely confident I would not have received were it not for educational foundations in the arts.

Thanks for participating in this week’s Carnival of Family Life, hosted at Write from Karen! Be sure to stop by on Monday, May 12, 2008, and peruse the other wonderful articles included in this week’s edition!

On May 12, 2008
At 10:42 am

Ms. JHS,

You are gifted in having had the foresight when young to take theatre. I have been fascinated reading your background and since then have formed a mental image of you as…..like you said…a fearless public speaker.


[…] presents Cool skills to have / habits to form for personal development – Learning Theatre / Drama posted at Father Sez.  “Often play skills learned at a young age can help us a lot in our […]

[…] presents Cool skills to have / habits to form for personal development – Learning Theatre / Drama posted at Father Sez. “Often play skills learned at a young age can help us a lot in our […]

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