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Why more of Hong Kong’s students should learn drama

March 2024  •  6 minutes read


From learning to speak English confidently to cultivating drive and self-expression, drama can support children on their path of growth and development.

Drama has the power to transform people, and this is especially true for children and young adults!


As Hong Kong’s leading English language children’s performing arts youth charity that has, since 2003, provided a broad range of theatrical stage experiences to help Hong Kong children from diverse backgrounds develop confidence and skills in using the English language to express their creativity, we have witnessed firsthand how drama can positively impact their growth.


From our experience, here are some of the reasons why we think drama can support children’s development:

  1. Drama builds children’s confidence in speaking English

  2. Drama guides children to understand their feelings and be more self-expressive

  3. Drama helps children develop teamwork, respect and social skills

  4. Drama is a gateway for children to learn about their community and themselves

  5. Drama allows children to be active learners

  6. Drama cultivates children’s self-assurance


1. Drama builds children’s confidence in speaking English

Drama is a creative medium that encourages students to actively and frequently speak in English until they get comfortable with expressing their thoughts. Speaking in English does not only happen on stage but also off stage when they exchange ideas with their friends.


In our drama classes, our main focus is not on training students to become the best in English but on helping them speak it confidently so that speaking the language becomes a habit. Of course, students will be sure to pick up a wealth of vocabulary, given that Shakespeare is known to be a wordsmith who expertly played with language and invented close to 2,000 English words!

2. Drama guides children to understand their feelings and be more self-expressive

Drama encourages students to put themselves in the shoes of characters, identify the sources of their emotions and learn about the broad range of feelings.


This process of acting is also applicable to children’s own emotional life. They become more aware of why they act a certain way in certain situations, what specific emotions they experience, and what the right words are to convey their strong feelings.


Drama can supply children with the language to express their rich emotional world and help them develop emotional intelligence in their personal and interpersonal lives.


Shakespeare4All's "Theatre Time" drama class for younger children

Shakespeare4All's "Saturday Shakespeare Drama Club" for teens

3. Drama helps children develop teamwork, respect and social skills

Needless to say, drama is fun! Drama classes and programmes allow children to meet like-minded friends over an intensive period.


Our drama programmes comprise a cross-section of students from different backgrounds, allowing them to step out of the familiar and meet people beyond their usual social circles. Many of the friendships built on stage can last a lifetime!


In this highly interactive environment, students learn to share the space with others to present ideas and make suggestions in a way that is respectful and ensures that everyone feels heard. The experience of performing also revolves heavily around teamwork, with every member being aware that they have to coordinate well for a production to succeed.


4. Drama is a gateway for children to learn about their community and themselves


We often get asked how Shakespeare, who was born more than 400 years ago, relates to children of the 2020s.


At Shakespeare4All, we believe that drama is a gateway for children to learn about their community. Our drama programmes contemporise Shakespeare’s plays by situating his characters in the here and now.


For example, how would the play Macbeth pan out if it was based in a fish ball restaurant? Or A Midsummer Night’s Dream if it took place Cheung Chau? The possibilities are limitless.

By putting Shakespeare into conversation with Hong Kong today, students are not only learning about Shakespeare’s plays, but they are also discovering new things about Hong Kong and linking them to Shakespeare. In this process, they understand more about themselves and the culture from which they originate, sparking an interest in them to uncover what role they can play within the community.


5. Drama allows children to be active learners

In drama classes, children can become independent learners who actively interpret the script and perform it based on their understanding. Instructors simply set the parameters for learning rather than “spoon-feeding” them information.


The peer-to-peer workshopping process in our drama classes is often self-driven and highly interactive. It involves steps such as inviting children to brainstorm a plot, develop complex characters, and improvise to see how characters respond to one another in certain situations.


By encouraging students to take ownership of their work, children are no longer passive receivers of knowledge and become self-directed learners. In practice, this learning method can be applied to other areas of their studies, helping them be more proactive learners overall.

6. Drama cultivates children’s self-assurance

In drama classes, we often see students gradually become more comfortable with acting and making big body movements in front of tens if not hundreds of people. The stage experience not only trains them to become better performers, but also boosts their communication and public speaking skills in other settings, such as when they speak in class, give presentations for a school project, or attend a secondary school or university interview.


Our drama classes also create a sandbox for children to try new things and not be afraid to make mistakes. Through trial and error, children’s confidence grows with time as they can identify their strengths and weaknesses in a safe space without the shame associated with mistakes.


This spirit of experimentation is an outlook we want to instil in drama students so that they believe in themselves and are not afraid to be bold and excel in all aspects of their lives. ​

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Experience drama like never before.

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