Column: Acting skills can prove invaluable for our students later on in life

It is a little-known fact that if you want to study a subject at school that will give you invaluable skills for the workplace, then you should plump for drama, writes Mark Cottingham, principal at Shirebrook Academy.

Saturday, 3rd July 2021, 5:00 pm

Few people know this, but it’s not hard to see how acting skills can prove invaluable later on in life, even if you end up showcasing your talents at a local business event rather than in the West End.

Teamwork, discipline, thinking on your feet, appearing in front of an audience, critical thinking and creativity – these are all central to drama and are central to a life in the workplace as well as in other areas of our lives, when we have to appear self-confident or communicate to others or take in important information.

I know this from direct experience because in my younger days I was involved in amateur theatre. Every day I am fully aware that when I stand up to teach or take an assembly, my ability to talk clearly and think on my feet is testament, in some way, to my early experiences of am-dram.

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Mark Cottingham, principal of Shirebrook Academy.
Mark Cottingham, principal of Shirebrook Academy.

I also appreciate the power of performance when I see the students who take part in our Shirebrook’s Got Talent show, our annual end-of-the-year event where the school’s singers, dancers, comedians and gymnasts show off their talent in return for votes.

It is no exaggeration to say that the show can change lives. Not in a talent-spotting way, I hasten to add, but being on stage and showing off a hitherto secret talent can transform the way in which students can see themselves – and others see them.

We’ve seen students who are shy in class come alive while appearing on stage and that experience, with the praise and applause of others ringing in their ears, has boosted their self-confidence, so much so that it seeps into other areas of their study and lives.

I’m not sure that’s what they mean by the magic of showbiz, but it’s wonderful to see and, with Shirebrook’s Got Talent set to return again later this month, I’m looking forward to seeing more students showcasing their talents and, hopefully, benefitting from the experience off stage as well as on.

A picture from a previous show of Shirebrook’s Got Talent.

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