For thousands of years, drama has been enriching the soul of civilization. In fact, I believe that the role played by the craft of acting, passed on and enhanced from one generation to the next, has been at least as important in society as the work of scientists, mathematicians and inventors – for what would the world be like without story-tellers?
Narrative helps to nurture the spirit – and to explore what it means to be human – in any society. It takes us beyond the everyday and forces us to think and to feel – and this attribute is vitally important as the world becomes more globalised, for with the exponential growth of technology, a world without the balancing influence of story will rapidly become little more than drones and machines – and work. Machines and computer programs have no feelings and much of the on-line ‘social’ environment is already a narcissistic, narrative wasteland, and yet it is narrative that nurtures the human soul – so, actors, as story-tellers, are needed today more than ever.
But, of course, the transformative power of theatre is not limited to the minds and hearts of the audience. Acting is about ‘becoming’ and, speaking from personal experience, as we master the craft of acting, we learn as much about ourselves and our relationship to others as we do about our ability to play the part.
I am proud to be a part of a legacy that was started 30 years ago by Dean Carey, because ACA has always been a great acting school. The philosophy of high challenge and high support is part of its DNA, and its many successes speak for themselves. It is a unique model of acting training that deserves to be seen on an international stage, and that is our intention this year, as we initiate plans to establish ACA beyond Australia. By connecting Australian drama students with students from other cultures (who bring very different life-experiences to the mix), we believe we can enrich the becoming process in preparation for the globalised industry the students face on graduation.
We are also preparing to launch a brand-new ACA initiative in partnership with MindChamps. ACA Kids will draw upon ACA’s 30 years of innovation in drama education and MindChamps’ decades of research into the psychology and neuroscience of learning, to build in young children the ‘3Cs’ of Confidence, Creativity and Connectedness – giving them access to the powerful craft of theatre at an age when it can really make a difference to their life-trajectory.
These are exciting times at ACA as our work with actors and young people helps enrich the fabric of their lives – and through them, the life of communities world-wide. Now, more than ever, is the time to celebrate the power of theatre as these young people harness their gift to enrich and enliven the narrative that dwells in the human heart and soul.
Peace and Light.