Bringing Creativity to the Stage
Drama is one of the most effective ways to help children develop their personalities, to express themselves, and to increase their own awareness about their feelings and the impact of their actions on the feelings of others. Drama and stage exercises, such as those in TYO’s Core Child Program Drama class, teach children teamwork and help to foster creativity and imagination. Daily, children enjoy working together to make diverse scenes, acting out different characters and situations. These exercises also work to increase children’s self-confidence and self-awareness. Children become more aware of their bodies, motions, and feelings as they express themselves both through action and voice.
It is rare to find opportunities for drama in Palestine. Rarely do people in our culture and community give drama the chance to foster cultural, social, and educational growth. Although I have been passionate about drama for some time, I was unable to find a space in Nablus that would allow me to use all my imagination, dream and feelings. So, I travelled to Ramallah to work with a group of dramatists who helped teach me the art of storytelling. Eventually, I moved to Jordan to train on a real stage. These experiences enabled me to learn from dramatists from different nationalities and thus to improve my abilities as a dramatist. After three years of pursuing drama, I found TYO.
My Drama class directly works to further TYO’s psychosocial mission. Children gain self-confidence as they complete exercises related to rhythm, breathing, concentration, relaxation, story-writing, drawing, action, imagination, and improvisation. From my personal experience as a drama teacher, I see daily how drama class creates happiness and excitement for children and improves their behavior and attitudes as well.
One such success story involves a child named Hama. When he came to TYO three weeks ago, he was considered a reluctant child and was not able to express himself; people thought that he was unable to talk. He joined my drama class and step-by-step I started to assign him tasks to make him feel important. Slowly, he started to participate in drama activities and he began to express himself as he was given the opportunity to do so. Now, the same child who at first was very shy and reluctant to get on the stage willingly acts out different roles on it. He has the voice now to talk and express how he feels with the other children. It is stories like Hama’s that make me feel lucky to have this chance to share this art form with disadvantaged children who many not otherwise have a chance to express themselves.
Jawad Ali Aqtash is one of TYO’s Core Child Program Teachers