It’s been a week of firsts this week – my 4 1/2 year old had her first school sports day and also took part in her first drama production that she’s recently been rehearsing for with her Saturday drama group, the Drama Mob, Didsbury, Manchester.
Drama is a great way to build confidence in young people. Our feisty 4 year old has always been a confident sort but we still want to ensure we build on and maintain this, developing her confidence in different situations. She’s constantly watching Disney princess films and driving me mad by stealing my chairs, placing them in the middle of the living room floor, standing on them and belting out songs and scenes – so we were pretty sure she’d love a bit of drama!
When you think about it, so much in life is based on our ability to present ourselves confidently in front of others. Whether its a verbal exam, a job interview, presentation at a meeting or asserting your rights in some matter or other (anyone want to have a sharp word with that idiot parking across our driveway??), skills in confidence, public speaking and just general self-belief are the way to go.
These are all things I struggled with for quite a time when I was younger. The thought of appearing on a stage would be like telling me I was about to die a horrible, painful death or that ten thousand spiders were about to descend on my bed at night and crawl into my ears. I was just very unconfident and for me, I’ve had to ‘unlearn’ those feelings over time and teach and demonstrate to myself that I can do it.
For our girls, I want this to be a more natural process, for them to feel this confidence from a young age. I think the drama classes are part of suite of parenting tools (like it? ‘suite of parenting tools’ – just call me 3-day nanny) we can use, alongside the more obvious things like reinforcing pride and demonstrating belief in them, choosing a good school that focuses on resilience and confidence, dealing with inevitable issues and crises that will arise throughout childhood and adolescence…yeah just those!
Anyway, back to the show! It was a summer production based on Matilda the Musical. Our 4 year old has been attending classes every Saturday morning that last for 1 hour (more during rehearsals. S’brilliant. I get to go for coffee and read an actual newspaper). Each Saturday I drop her off and when I pick her up she’s beaming- she loves it.
I admit I was nervous for her on the night of the production. I knew a little of what she’d be doing as we had snippets of songs, lines and a poem to practice and learn. But really, it’s her thing. I didn’t know much more than that (although I did manage to look through the keyhole of the door to the group once before pickup and caught a lovely rendition of ‘Miracle’ from Matilda).
She’s so confident at home, but I honestly didn’t know if she’d be struck with stage fright when she walked out to the stage and saw a crowd of 300 people watching her! Luckily, she has friends in the same group which will have helped a lot – but the talent of the group leaders shone here as ALL the kids were completely comfortable.
Being one of the younger group, she was mainly in the chorus singing songs, dancing and with just a couple of lines, which she delivered perfectly (I was on the edge of my seat having kittens- hubs thought I was bonkers), as did her friends. She sang her songs and did her little routines with the others and enjoyed every minute.
All of the children did well actually and some of the older ones were amazing, delivering long performances on their own and complex lines and role play. I don’t know a great deal about drama but I do know that the audience enjoyed the production a lot and that this must have taken a lot of team work and effort on the part of the children and leaders! There were some comedy moments too, with the littler ones shouting “hello mummy!!!” when they saw their parents in the audience (including mine!).
For me, it was also a realisation that she’s becoming more and more independent and just getting on with it on her own. I don’t knew why I expected otherwise, but I continue to be amazed that I could just drop her off for rehearsals and pick her up after the show and she didn’t need me at all.
Well done our eldest little girl. We look forward to many more performances in the future!