Dramatic Arts as a subject – is it for me?

Dramatic Arts is a subject offered in the South African curriculum in the FET (grades 10 to 12) phase. It is a highly misunderstood subject, with most people assuming it is only useful to improve their confidence in speaking to crowds of people, or that it should be taken by people who intend to go into performance as a career.

Taking Dramatic Arts as a subject does not mean you can only become an actress! Dramatic Arts is a university recognised subject (which means it counts in your application to university) and can contribute to the following careers: inter alia: art galleries and museums; arts industries (arts management, theatre management, stage management); community arts centres; craft centres; cultural villages and cultural tourism; event co-ordination; media, publishing and advertising; popular entertainment (buskers, stand-up comedians, clowns, cabaret artists, magicians); private and independent drama studios; professions such as teaching, preaching, law, psychology, public relations, social services, stage, television, video, radio and film industry; theatre design (costume, set, make-up, lighting, sound, promotional material); therapists (play therapy, drama therapy).

Dramatic Arts is a useful supporting elective for diverse Learning Fields. Its transference of values of confidence, creativity, problem solving, conflict resolution, inventiveness and communication can easily be accessed in the services, manufacturing and engineering fields, among others. It also equips learners with crucial life skills such as self-confidence, creativity, communication skills, self-discipline, critical and creative thinking, leadership and teamwork which will benefit the individual in any field or future interest.

According to the Department of Education, Drama is a social art form which integrates visual, aural, physical, kinaesthetic and performance elements to communicate, explore, reflect on and enhance human experience. The subject Dramatic Arts encompasses a range of performance modes across a variety of media and within a diversity of cultural and social contexts.

Dramatic Arts is a subject which consists of both a practical and a theoretical component. Learners learn about theatre history and how social political aspects have led to the development of different performance styles. Learners will also see how these different performance styles are applied to a text of that time; therefore, learners will read a lot of plays. It incorporates elements of art, history, biology, psychology, anthropology, philosophy, literature studies and more!

The subject consists of two components: theoretical and practical. The have equal value within the subject, thus learners get just as much practical experience as theoretical knowledge. Learners work through three years with increasing complexity and grow exponentially in the process.

It is our hope that the myths surrounding drama will be expelled as the world begins to realise the value of a person who can be critical and sensitive to the needs and difference of others, and can celebrate those differences. People who take the time to question instead of blindly following, and who live life with passion.

If you were unsure about whether to pursue Dramatic Arts at high school level, or to allow your child to do so, I hope this information was a helpful aid in your decision making process.

If you are doing Drama and you need a tutor, look no further. Contact us here.

Remember, “all the world’s a stage, and all men and women merely players.” – Willy Shakes


Reference: Department of Basic Education Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement for Dramatic Arts, 2011.


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