What’s in a Performance?


The Secret Lies Below the Surface!

 

NIS Arts Mission Statement

The Arts at NIS take a holistic approach to providing students the opportunity to create and perform works of artistic expression
in Music, Theater, and the Visual Arts.  By engaging in independent and collaborative projects, students grow in self-confidence and understanding of others in the context of the Arts.  We encourage different approaches to the process as well as the knowledge, skills, and discipline needed to advance and create as an artist and practitioner.

 

The mission statement above may sound idealistic, but it’s at the heart of everything we do in the NIS Arts Department. As a Drama teacher, I’m well aware that the Performing Arts may be seen as an add-on, something that momentarily entertains audiences but is little more than that. Naturally, I disagree with this view. Let me explain...


The Performing Arts are, for me, one of the bedrocks of human civilization. Think about it - what other creatures invest vast amounts of time, energy, and resources to create something so temporary? Drama connects us to cultures, beliefs, and traditions from different places and eras, allowing us to be a part of something stretching back thousands of years. The Ancient Greeks believed in the concept of “catharsis,” whereby viewing characters suffering in tragic situations on stage, the audience suffered, but were then cleansed and able to continue their lives with a deeper awareness of the struggles and potential of humanity. The collaborative rehearsal process and communal experience of viewing plays and performances as part of a community send a powerful message about our values and ideas.


Through performing in Drama, our international, multilingual students are finding out about themselves and others, and developing a sense of empathy and identity. Through becoming other characters, they can safely explore different worlds, which may be more exciting or terrifying than our own and consider how people may respond in a range of situations. They develop a shared sense of responsibility and the ability to try, fail, and improve under pressure. The final performance is the dazzling tip of a much bigger iceberg which the audience never gets to see. The benefits hidden below the depths gradually emerge in an array of ways of thinking, problem-solving, strengthened communication and language skills, and give students the ability to play their part in the never-ending performance that is Life.