The Performing Arts and developing creativity in our students

Sub-title: How the performing arts and being in a production develops our students' capacity to be creative.

An Interview with La Mór, Head of Arts 

<Watch this video interview with La Mor, Head of Arts at Branksome Hall Asia, on the educational value of participating in a production. Click to view video>

I want to talk about the performing arts and developing creativity in children.

Here at Branksome we’re very passionate about our Drama program and our students have had lots of opportunities to make and create.

Creativity is the capacity to imagine, conceive, express or make something that was not there before. 

So, as a skill this is incredibly important to the future of society, culture, economy, everything, science, innovation, and technology.

So rather than talking just talking about the performing arts, I want to talk about creativity as a skill and a concept in general. It’s a way of thinking, making and doing. 

I firmly believe that it’s integral for future individual, 

For the individual child, we don’t just assume that a child is creative of imaginative. We assume that that potential is endless. And that it’s part of our responsibility to exercise those experiences that help develop those skills.

As well as trying to teach them skills and knowledge we have to teach them how to apply those skills and knowledge and personal qualities that are useful for being and exercising and developing creative potential. And those are things like resilience.

If something goes wrong you try it again and try it again. 

You don’t necessarily get something right, but you are happy about something. 

Those sorts of skills are incredibly important for children after they leave us because when they get into the big wide world, their world is going to be complicated. 

We want to be able to give them resilience so that they can be successful when they leave us. 

Business say the following, this is a quote from the CEO of a tech company which works with touch sensitive technology. He says 

the ability to communicate and tell a story is key to sharing a vision. 

If you can understand how to communicate a story to an audience you understand how to sell something, how to describe what it is that you’re thinking of, get someone to buy into that idea, and hopefully get them onboard with your idea.

So lots of our performances tell exciting stories, but our students start to understand how they are responsible for telling that story and making people really listen to them, really concentrate on them. Those performance skills start to develop other skills like confidence and poise. 

All of these skills are super important for when they go into the world of work. 

The World Economic Forum Reports in 2015 said that students need these competencies to be successful. The top 4 were Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication and Collaboration. Those 4 qualities are something that the students have to have in bucket loads when working on a show. 

We really stretch their critical thinking. Because we are not necessarily telling  them everything we want. We are beginning with essentially a piece of paper that then become worlds and shows. They make the show with us. They are involved in making props, costumes, the set, involved in making music sometimes. They are totally involved with us when we make a world and a show together.  

The students who are working backstage are supporting what’s happening in front stage, and the people who are working front of house are supporting audience coming into the Show, it’s a huge operation. And without everyone working together and collaborating, none of that works very well. So the students understand the power of community. 

Edward de Bono, one of our most important living thinkers, innovators, a bit of a renaissance man, says 

“There’s no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.”

If we’re going to move forward and be successful we have to be able to create. In fact, creating is in every living thing. It’s in our DNA. It’s in plants and in the natural world. Every living thing is designed to create and recreate and recreate. It’s at our essence. If we don’t allow children enough time and enough space to create, we’re denying them something which is absolutely fundamental to our human make up. It’s essential for their well being and their mental health. If children are given space to explore, to play, to try, to fail, to enjoy the messiness of making things, then we’re giving them access to a fundamental human right that keeps them well, that keeps them happy but in the end also makes them extremely successful and healthy human beings.