All the World’s a Stage: Expanding Perspectives through Drama
Life in a disadvantaged area of Nablus can narrow a child’s worldview- there is a lack of physical space to freely move around, exposure to violence, and few opportunities for creativity. But each afternoon in TYO’s Core Program, kids are expanding their horizons and exploring the world around them- just by stepping onto a stage. Drama therapy is widely regarded as the intentional use of theater techniques to achieve therapeutic goals, and improve psychosocial outcomes. By utilizing processes like storytelling or improvisation, participants can explore their own life stories, improve their communication abilities, and strengthen interpersonal skills.
At TYO, our drama class is built upon these ideas- and each week, our Core Program kids have the chance to both learn basic acting skills and enhance their creativity. Most importantly, our drama class creates a space for kids to feel safe and secure. We teach kids about body language, and encourage them to use their voice. This sharpens communication skills, and helps build confidence. Children also work together in small groups to create different scenes, and then act them out in front of their classmates. This role-playing activity helps kids problem solve, and experience teamwork. Drama class is equally a chance to grow academically, as well- through games and other creative activities, educational subjects are presented in a new way.
I believe a child’s imagination is reflected in each scene of drama class- and through our activities and games, they learn that they are capable of coming up with ideas, and then implementing them. There is an opportunity to clarify and communicate their feelings about their homes, their neighborhoods, or past traumatic experiences. They also realize that they are in control of their lives and futures. As their teacher, it is my hope that they will carry this confidence into the scenes of their lives outside of TYO.
Mohammad Abulkibash is a Core Child Program Teacher at TYO. Below, he shares about the drama class he teaches in the Core Program, and the multiple ways that drama therapy techniques can benefit children.