The popular proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” rings true when it comes to putting on a production. There are many people involved in creating a performance before audiences can enjoy it.
Having worked on my third project with Adelaide Youth Theatre (AYT) I appreciate the old adage even more when I see the “village” surrounding the performing arts education of a child. I’ve previously been appointed musical director for AYT’s productions of Wicked and Shrek the Musical, and now direct their Glee Club in preparation for monthly cabaret nights.
I’ve been privy to the efforts of two hardworking female entrepreneurs at the helm, Emma Riggs and Kerreane Sarti, who each juggle multiple productions every year whilst running a performing arts dance school. I’m inspired by the professional opportunities that they’ve afforded their students and I feel privileged to work alongside them in some of their productions.
Last night was Glee Club’s first performance at the cabaret night. As I saw many young singers take to the stage at Nexus Arts, as soloists or as part of a vocal ensemble, I was moved by the courage of the young performers entertaining the crowd.
I also reminisced on my own arts education. I’ve learned a lot whilst growing up on stage, and I’m thankful to all of my teachers and to all of the performers that I grew up performing with, and competing against. Those experiences helped to shape my creative identity. I truly believe that an education on stage is paramount to carving out a professional career path as a performer; AYT offers this in many ways.
I thought about the arts education that I want to give to my future children and how I want them to have the opportunity to develop a love for literature, music, art, dance, drama, and theatre. I want to immerse my children in a world where creativity is abundant and I wish to surround them with peers who also appreciate the value of the arts.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”– Pablo Picasso
Many people are more creative in their youth, then this skill generally declines throughout their life. Sir Ken Robinson sees the concept of divergent thinking as an important factor in creativity. Robinson describes divergent thinking as “[…] the ability to see lots of possible answers to a question, lots of possible ways to interpret a question, to think laterally, to think not just in linear or convergent ways, to see multiple answers, not one.“
Having worked in the education sector for nearly a decade, I see more emphasis placed on standardised testing and ranking scores, and not enough resources allocated to innovation and creativity, which happen to be two important factors in entrepreneurship.
Instead of dismissing arts subjects in the curriculum for fear that students ‘won’t get a job’ upon completing their studies, we should cultivate the natural curiosity in our students so that they may one day have an entrepreneur’s depth of vision and the capacity to create new industries. What a sad world it would be for our children if they were to determine their self-worth by test scores and rankings instead of innovation and creativity.
I know what kind of world I want my children to grow up in. Through my life’s work I hope to create such a world for them with the help of a village of artists and creatives.