Why study Drama?

Reasons why studying Drama will NOT be a risk:

  • According to The Daily Telegraph (14 October 2016) there is only one UK University that does not understand the value of Drama: LSE (London School of Economics). This institution has placed Drama, Art, Law, Design Technology, Sport, Media and Business Studies (amongst others) on their “non-preferred A Level Subjects” list.
  • ALL other Universities accept Drama A Level alongside facilitating subjects.
  • 9,994 students studying at Russell Group Universities since 2012 have an A Level in Drama and Theatre Studies. They studied/are studying everything from Medicine, Dentistry and Engineering to Languages, Philosophy and Drama. Studying Drama will not hold you back. 
  • Students who wish to study Law SHOULD be encouraged to study Drama.

Business leaders who advocate Drama training as invaluable in the workplace:

1. Nicola Horlick, leading British businesswoman and twice winner of Businesswoman of the Year (below is an extract from an interview with Theactuary.com.)

You auditioned for RADA as a teenager. Have you ever had to employ your performing skills in the office or boardroom?

"Communication is very important — everything is defined by it. I communicate with my clients, with investment committees, with my colleagues and all of my staff. At Morgan Grenfell I had to get up in front of 1,200 people to talk to them about the business. I have spoken at conferences and done TV interviews. I did a lot of Drama from the age of seven onwards…and I can utilise all of the skills that I learnt."

​2. Tom Vander Well, Vice-President of C Wenger group, a consulting firm specialising in customer satisfaction research. (Below is a summary of an article from https://tomvanderwell.wordpress.com.)

Here are 10 ways being a theatre major helped me succeed:

  1. Improvisation. Theatre taught me how to focus, think quickly and make do while giving the impression that you’ve got it all under control. It’s served me well when clients, airlines, coworkers, or technology wreak unexpected havoc at the worst possible moment.

  2. Project management. Being taught to stand at the helm of a theatrical production was a project management practicum.

  3. Working with a limited budget. Most plays are produced on a shoestring budget. This forces you to be imaginative, do more with less and find creative ways to get the results you want without spending money. Ask any corporate manager and they’ll tell you that this pretty much describes their job. Mine too.

  4. Dealing with very different human beings.  In my business career I have the unique and challenging task of walking into the CEO’s office in the morning to present our findings in an executive summary presentation and to receive a high-level grilling. I will then spend the afternoon presenting the same data to overworked, underpaid, cynical front-line employees and get a very different grilling. Theatre taught me how to appreciate, understand and effectively communicate with a widely diverse group of human beings.

  5. Understanding the human condition. What I learned as a theatre major was that good actors learn the human condition intimately through observation and painfully detailed introspection. In my business I am constantly using the same general methods to understand my clients, their customers, as well as myself and my co-workers. I didn’t learn methods of observing and understanding others in Macro Econ, I learned it in Acting I & Acting II.

  6. Doing whatever needs to be done. Light design, sound engineering, acting, directing, producing, marketing, PR, set design, set construction, ticket sales, budgeting, customer service, ushering, make-up, and costuming are all things I had to do as part of my college career. The experience, can-do attitude and indomitable spirit I learned in the theatre have been essential to success.

  7. Hard work. In business I have periods of time with unbelievable workloads in which there are sleepless nights, seemingly endless days and tireless work on projects that will be presented and then will be over. The report will be archived and I’m onto the next project. C’est la vie. I learned all about that as a theatre major.

  8. Making difficult choices. The higher the position the harder the decisions and the more people those decisions affect. Being a theatre major gave me a taste of what I would have to digest in my business career.

  9. Presentation skills. From what I’ve experienced, individuals who can stand up confidently in front of a group of people and capably, effectively communicate their message while even being motivating and a little entertaining are among the rarest individuals in the business world. Being a theatre major helped me be one of them.

  10. Doing the best you can with what you’ve got. You don’t need Broadway theatrics to create a magical theatrical moment on stage. You don’t even need a stage. The same is true of customer service. You don’t always need the latest technology, the best system, or the greatest whiz-bang doo-dads. A capable CSR doing the best they can and serving a customer with courtesy, empathy, friendliness and a commitment to resolve can and does win customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Drama is an immensely challenging and rewarding subject. Creative industries in the UK are booming and businesses in Europe, Australia and America want employees who are creative problem solvers. It’s worth a thought!