What Does a Great Acting School Look Like?
The art of acting and stagecraft has been continuously evolving. Before we look at what differentiates a low-quality drama school from a great one, let’s get the basics right.
So, What is a Drama Class, Really?
A drama class is a course that focuses on teaching the art of acting and performance. In a drama class, students typically learn how to develop their acting skills, express themselves through movement and speech, and understand the principles of storytelling and stagecraft.
Drama classes can be offered at various levels, from introductory classes for beginners to more advanced classes for those with prior experience. They may also cover a range of topics, such as improvisation, script analysis, character development, and stage direction.
In addition to teaching acting techniques, drama classes provide students with opportunities to practice their skills through performances, rehearsals, and group activities.
By participating in a drama class, students can gain confidence, improve their communication and teamwork skills, and develop a deeper appreciation for the performing arts.
A great drama class is one that empowers students to speak in front of other people and work on their interpersonal relationship skills. They get to focus on and practice acting. This brings us to the most important question:
“What Makes for an Effective Drama Class?”
An acting school worth investing in is not one that simply looks at arts as a one-dimensional medium. It should be able to help students to:
- Tie science and arts subjects together and use ‘arts’ as a lens to improve their drama learning
- Portray their learning and dive into acting with their experiences and artistic elements
- Work together and create a solid group dynamic while building comfort and familiarity
- Hone their creative problem-solving skills via the medium of the arts and transfer these learnings into any job/position
- Build a community with your peers and engage in relationship-building
- Ultimately talk clearly, authentically, and with purpose
The takeaway: An effective drama class is one that provides students with a well-rounded education in the theatrical arts while also fostering creativity, self-expression, and teamwork.
5 Effective Drama Class Techniques for Beginner Students
An acting class for beginners can seem daunting. But with these techniques, as students, you can improve your dramatics significantly:
1. Experiment, Experiment, Experiment!
You must explore the different acting techniques and exercises to become more comfortable on stage. For instance, you can practice the “mirror exercise.” Here’s how it works:
- You stand facing a partner and mirror their movements and expressions.
- This helps build a sense of trust and connection with your scene partner and allows you to become more aware of your own body language.
2. Improvise Often, Improvise As Needed
Improvisation is an excellent technique for beginner drama classes. You can try improvisation with an improv acting class, which can be both challenging and exciting.
It’s amazing how quickly scenes can develop when you’re working with a group of people who are willing to take risks and build on each other’s ideas.
In addition, you’ll be able to build on your confidence, creativity, and spontaneity. You can also start with simple exercises like a one-word-at-a-time story where you build up on a story one word at a time.
3. Learn About the Technical Aspects of Theater Production
In addition to acting techniques, you must focus on the technical aspects of theater production, which includes lighting and sound design.
You’ll be able to understand how these elements can be used to enhance a performance and create different moods and atmospheres on stage.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Perform
As is with any discipline, practice makes perfect. So use any opportunity you get to perform in front of an audience.
It might be nerve-wracking, but it can also be incredibly rewarding to see how your hard work has paid off and hear the audience’s positive feedback. Additionally, rest assured that your confidence will get a solid boost.
5. Keep Learning, Keep Growing!
Drama as a field requires consistent effort, ongoing learning, and immense practice. This skill demands continuous learning. You should always strive to grow as an actor.
In addition to the tips mentioned above, drama teachers can use these techniques to improve the quality of teaching.
Additional Drama Class Techniques for Teachers to Keep in Mind
Here are a few other common yet effective drama class techniques drama teachers can use (and make their own):
- Warm-up exercises: Start each class with a fun and engaging warm-up exercise that helps students relax and prepare for the lesson. This could include breathing exercises, stretches, or vocal warm-ups.
- Role-playing: Role-playing is a great way to get students to step outside their comfort zones and into different characters. It helps them develop empathy and understand different perspectives. You can start with simple scenarios like ordering food at a restaurant or asking for directions and allow the students to develop the story from there.
- Script analysis: Analyzing scripts can help students understand the structure of a play and the motivations of the characters. You can start with short scenes or monologues and have students read and analyze them together.
- Ensemble building: Ensemble building exercises help students learn how to work together as a team. This could include games like “Zip, Zap, Zop” or “Pass the Clap.”
- Movement exercises: Movement exercises help students develop physical awareness and coordination. You can start with simple exercises like mirroring, where one student mirrors the movements of another.
- Character development: Developing a character can help students understand the motivations and emotions of the character they are playing. You can start with simple exercises like creating a character profile and improvising scenes in character. This will allow the students to explore their creativity and develop their own unique style.
- Supportive and safe environment: Focus on offering constructive feedback and encouragement to students. Additionally, provide a safe and supportive environment where students feel comfortable taking creative risks and expressing themselves. The classroom should be a place where students can be themselves without fear of judgment or ridicule.
The takeaway: Overall, the key to effective drama classes for beginners is to create a safe and supportive environment where students feel comfortable taking risks and exploring their creativity.
Looking for a way to tell your story in your own voice? Or perhaps, create your own magical world?
Instead of Googling “acting class near me,” consider looking at the Dramatic Arts Program at the Burlington Royal Arts Academy. It is one of the best acting schools. In this program, you’ll get the following:
- One-on-one access with experienced drama teachers and learn how to express yourself with world-class dramatics sessions
- Personalized drama coaching and will be able to master the techniques and tools to become great communicators
- Learn about the magical world of cinema and everything related to it, such as camera, image capture, sound, animation, visual effects technique, and more
What makes this program unique is that drama teachers use the ‘STEAM’ model—Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. The idea is to incorporate science elements while bringing an artistic quality to a drama class and enable students to get the best of both worlds in one class.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about drama classes:
Q. What is drama class?
Drama class is essentially an educational course that teaches students about acting, theater, and performance. It typically involves exercises, games, improvisation, scene work, and studying plays and playwrights.
Q. What skills can I learn in drama class?
Drama class can help students develop a range of skills, such as public speaking, improvisation, collaboration, creative thinking, and self-expression. It can also help build confidence, empathy, and social skills.
Q. What types of activities are included in drama class?
Drama class may include warm-up exercises, movement and vocal work, improvisation and games, scene work, and performance projects. Students may also study different genres of theater and explore different approaches to acting.
Q. Do I need acting experience to take drama classes?
No, you do not need any prior acting experience to take a drama class. Drama classes are designed to introduce students to acting and theater and help them build their skills and confidence.
Q. What age groups can take drama classes?
Drama classes are available for a wide range of age groups, from elementary school students to adults. Classes may be tailored to different age groups and skill levels.
Q. What can I expect in a typical drama class?
In a typical drama class, students may engage in warm-up exercises, improvisation games, and scene work. They may also discuss plays, playwrights, and theatrical genres and explore different acting techniques and approaches. Classes may culminate in a performance project, such as a play or a showcase.
Q. How can drama class help me outside of acting?
Drama class can help develop a range of skills that are valuable in many areas of life, such as public speaking, teamwork, creative thinking, and problem-solving. It can also help build confidence, empathy, and social skills that can be applied in various contexts.