Finding time for rehearsals is a drama for young performers
A performance of the drama "My Ten Kilos" in Beijing on Wednesday, December 4, 2019, closed out a series of performances highlighting the achievements of drama teaching in schools across China. [Photo: China Plus]
Performances that highlighted the achievements of drama teaching in schools across China were hosted recently in Beijing. They included many performances that celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
"Several school dramas are based on the history of China's revolution before 1949," said Yin Xiaodong, the head of the China National Theatre for Children, which provided training to the student performers. "In the past, school children used to only gain knowledge about this field from books. Now, through portrayals of the characters in these dramas, they are able to better understand the heroes of that era who made notable achievements in this country's revolution."
The benefits of drama education are clear: It provides students with a better understanding of history and helps them to explore new aspects of life. But schools have struggled to incorporate drama classes into the artistic education provided by the standard curriculum.
"Drama teaching is systematic educational work, which needs to have time dedicated to it," said Yin. "We feel embarrassed when we spend their spare time on drama teaching. But it's impossible to spend their campus time on it."
Liao Wei began coaching student performers at a Beijing primary school in late July for a drama called "My Ten Kilos", which tells the story of a school girl named Yingzi who tries her best to gain 10 kilos so she can save her mother, who is dying of leukemia, by donating her bone marrow. The performance on Tuesday afternoon was the last in the series of student performances in Beijing.
"These days, students are put under a lot of pressure," said Liao Wei. "They are booked into various types of after-school classes, so joining our drama class means a lot of extra energy and time was needed from the students and their parents. But, no pain, no gain. Perhaps the gain is invisible now, but in the long term, I believe this experience will, for sure, help them to shape a good personality and also a positive outlook towards life."
A total of 30 shows were staged in Beijing during the two weeks of performances.