There’s nothing quite like drama classes to help a child learn how to express themselves. Through drama and acting, children learn confidence and lifelong social skills, all while exploring their inner creativity.
Gold Coast is blessed to have a number of creative entrepreneurs offering arts and performances opportunities for children and their families and one of those companies is Goat Track Theatre.
It’s quite obvious that the Goat Track team are rather passionate about children and the benefits that drama skills bring to a growing mind and body.
“I could have this conversation with you over a long weekend,” Artistic Director and CEO Andrew Wright said, when asked why families might consider drama lessons for their kids.
“It doesn’t matter which part of society you go into, you need team skills. And we’ve all worked on teams with people who lack those.”
“I want to grow up in a space where everyone’s stories are told. It’s very hard to hurt someone when you know their story.”
Andrew says one of the immediate benefits to having meaningful stories from young people shared via theatre is that we have an avenue to actually listen to them, instead of a situation where there are even more adults talking to young people.
“You’re actually listening to young people about what they think,” he says.
“The average young person in society that goes into school, that system has been set up in a way that young people are being talked to and in a way, talking down to – there are things we don’t know about being a young person now. We want young people to be valued.”
And it’s that philosophy that Andrew and his team take into drama classes at Goat Track Theatre. The company specialises in programs for children and young people, with experienced teachers working alongside young people to create professional productions – all with the voices and concerns of children front and centre.
There are three programs available for young people at Goat Track as well as holiday programs delivering specialised skills.
The Billy Goats program is for three to five year olds.
“That program is based on the power of play and for children of that age, their dominant, most accelerated medium of learning is play. We harness that in order to use games and role play in creative ways to discover more about their world,” Andrew says.
Goat Track Kids is for primary-aged school children.
Andrew explained that the major purpose of drama for kids that age is to improve confidence, enhance creativity, create connections and learn about self-care.
“Having said that, though, we also pride ourselves on making sure the drama education is excellent.”
“That means learning about new genres of theatre and new skills. We might be looking at improv one term, mask the next, movement work, clowning, commedia dell’arte from Italy – we’re changing focus all the time. We do stage craft, film, a whole heap of different approaches.”
Fast Track is for people aged 12 – 17.
“Those guys learn through doing,” Andrew says. “We have a production-based program and the way it’s structured is that each time we do a production it has a different demand or requirement.”
“We pretty much always create our own work. We’re leaders in the creation of work for young people, by young people, with young people,” Andrew says.
“What our process is with Fast Track is we’re transforming young people’s lives as well as transforming the audience through theatre. The thing that drives us is the empowerment of youth theatre – it’s powerful for the teller and powerful for the listener.”
And as to the impact society feels as a result of all these young people attending drama classes?
“If you think about our future leaders – they need to have emotional intelligence, empathy, be adaptable, flexible and work with change.”
“Leaders don’t manage,” Andrew says. “Leaders tell stories.”
Goat Track Theatre has its headquarters at North Tamborine with classes offered at Helensvale, Robina, Ormeau and Tugun.
Holiday programs in July, September and December 2019 will cover improv, street theatre, clowning and comedy.