Stigma for Students

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As somebody in further education, I often find myself being asked what I am studying. I always take great delight in saying Performing Arts.

However, I often find myself having to explain my reasons for wanting to study such an expressive and creative subject, in an equally creative industry.

Fortunately I am lucky enough to have a supportive family, that are there for me. This is not usually the case for many people heavily involved within Performing Arts and some of my closest friends find themselves having to explain on a daily basis why they are involved in it. Overtime, explaining yourself can become relentless, and the disapproval of others can leave you feeling downhearted. It can cause you to lose love and become disinterested in such a wonderful industry.

This would not be the case if more people were aware of the opportunities Performing Arts can lead you into.

Through sheer ignorance, many believe that acting is exactly that. Although it is often unknown what goes into the process, a lot more than just learning lines and performing.

Acting theory can often include a range of subjects including; Anatomy Of The Voice, this gives an actor the scope to diversify into other professions, such as speech therapy. Physical movement lessons include; Stage Combat, Period Dance and a comprehensive understanding of the human body. This has opened up opportunities for performers to end up in a more medical profession. This would not have been the case if it was not for these other performance subjects.

Students are often stigmatised as being lazy, skipping lectures, procrastinating, drinking too much and watching daytime television. However, the serious student of Performing Arts appreciates how much hard work it takes to hone their craft. Not only do we do the same amount of theory work as other level 3 students in a different field of study. We also have intensive rehearsal classes, these two aspects are mentally tiring and very physically demanding.

Acting is 1% talent 99% hard work. A few perform to try and achieve fame and fortune. On the other hand, the majority prefer live theatre, that being in the moment, portraying a truthful character with depth and understanding to the audience. Each performance being a unique experience between the actor and those watching.

Acting also develops a feeling of confidence, which is used in your everyday life. It teaches you how to present yourself, how to speak, hold yourself and the ability to be extra observant.

The next time you find yourself chatting away to a Performing Arts student, do not be dismissive about what they are doing. They are fully aware of what is involved and how it may impact on their future. It is better to encourage them to explore all the many routes Performing Arts can lead you down, instead of disregarding it and telling them to get a proper job.

All great actors have to start somewhere and one of the greatest, Richard Attenborough, started at this very theatre. His ethos of hard work and dedication and passion for the art he loved is a shining example to us all.

Jenny Dexter

Do you agree with Jenny? Do you have an experience of studying within Performing Arts?

Contact FAO Ella