Before going to boarding school in the UK, I never thought of drama as something serious. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw how serious the Brits and their schools were with drama. Drama isn’t something they only do for the annual school Christmas assembly, or a mere after school activity bearing more resemblance to speech therapy than acting. A school theatrical production could go on international tour; stage design and makeup were all done professionally by teenagers; students may come up with creative fundraising events to cover productions costs; and the really passionate actors don’t just take LAMDA exams (LAMDA exams are offered by the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. They are the speech and drama equivalent of music grades, so they also culminate at grade 8) – they act in BBC dramas all the while they are still at boarding school.
Drama not only gives a child an early exposure to huge teamwork, learning that everyone truly matters – a trait which team sports shares -, but the actual learning of acting in fact offers an education into humanity. Stories of people from all walks of life, complexities of the human mind and emotions, and the miracles and disasters life throws upon us – the dramatic art in fact guides us to become more mature, more open-minded, and more aware of how big the world really is. Coming from a local school background where academic achievements trumped everything else, seeing and knowing that there are in fact many other things in this world where people could thrive and excel in was a real eye-opener. Hard work should be celebrated and respected regardless of what it contributes to (on the assumption, of course, that it is for something good).
And regardless of whether you are involved in a huge production or are just trying out for a LAMDA exam, it will always give you great training in public speaking – an unavoidable part of life – and who knows, maybe you are going to be the next biggest actor/actress!
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Stephanie attended Benenden School before obtaining her Classics degree from the University of Cambridge. Having experienced life as a boarder at a very young age and been appointed Overseas Liaison at Benenden, she thoroughly understands the concerns and challenges young students (and their parents) may face. Stephanie has spent years tutoring students for the purposes of preparation for boarding schools, and believes that every student can reach their maximum potential with good education. She is now a qualified lawyer in Hong Kong.
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