Drama skills help with life skills
As a child, Nicholas Frost used to sit in the audience at Porirua Little Theatre and watch his parents Jack and Jenny on stage.
Now he is theatre director, musician, performance skills specialist and author of a new teaching resource, Total Drama: A sourcebook of original exercises and scripts for teachers and students.
The English-born writer grew up in Titahi Bay but is now based in Sydney and is often back and forth between homes.
‘‘I love New Zealand, I come back to visit every few months. I’ve been brought up in the theatre, my parents were always very active with Porirua Little Theatre and I used to sit there and watch them as a child. I didn’t act very much but I was an enthusiastic audience for them.’’
The 520-page manual was released in December and is set to be distributed to most high schools and theatre companies across New Zealand and Australia.
Total Drama features methods that support play-building, script-writing and thematic study, and promotes the role of drama in developing life skills like emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, negotiation, presentation and relationship building.
He says the response from teachers has been ‘‘very positive’’ so far.
‘‘It feels very good that the book’s out now. I’ve had years of experience directing stuff and I have seen a lot of problems with the teaching of drama to young people. I felt there’s a strong need for a resource like this. There’s a lot of teachers out there with a need for a strong method . . . [Drama] needs to be laid out as a science.’’
Frost ran a children’s theatre company for many years and co-founded the Christchurch Free Theatre, which has been running since the early 1980s.
He says a lot of the techniques he has used with corporate groups have become lessons in Total Drama. He believes the skills young people learn in drama are for life.
‘‘A lot of kids have been saved by things like drama and dance and the arts. The skills they learn can be used in all areas of their lives.’’
For more information visit wheelers.co.nz.
Total recall: Nicholas Frost has released a sourcebook called Total Drama to help teach drama in high schools across New Zealand and Australia. The book draws on some of his original scripts.