Youth Contribution – Performing arts helped me realise I am unique

Nominations are now open for the Commonwealth Youth Worker Awards 2016, which will recognise youth workers who utilise sport and arts programmes to engage and empower young people across the Commonwealth. 

14030844_1819951378291164_121013827_nJoshua Sophola, 16 years old Seychellois shared his views on performing arts:

Performing arts, dead theatrics?

Performing arts, only for theatrics?

Performing arts? You must be stupid

Before there were movies there was the theatre. Before there were music studios there was the theatre. Somehow while these two industries thrived to surround itself in our daily routine the root of its existence is ignored and ridiculed. At a young age I was taught to read books and concentrate in studying Geography and the history of the world. Never once I was taught to appreciate the value that the arts have in our lives. While these other subjects are important I believe that the arts are just as important. Even if you see it or not, talent-engaging activity such as interpretive dance and singing has an effect on the development of the young generation. Performing arts is a haven, a way to escape reality and explore possibilities that only the theatre can provide. After a tiring day at school crunching numbers and hypothesis, an hour or more of performing arts allows you to release the pent up tensions, emotions and frustrations.

Performing arts represents something, it represents history and culture. So, does performing arts have an effect on youth? Yes. Without realising it the youth is using inputs from performing arts daily from apps on our phones such as Vines whereby creativity is vital in a six seconds video. Creativity and the ability to draw the attention of an audience is not only a fundamental journalism and public speaking skill it’s also a workout for the brain. It is scientifically proven that a brain workout is essential to allow youthful growth and development. The arts doesn’t only provide confidence for further use in future careers such as a lawyer but it also provides perspective as dialogues can be both negative and positive based on real life events. While parents are complaining about technology, preventing growth and realism (as mine does constantly) the theatre in its own way provides realism and improvising abilities.

Humans differ from any robotic and biotic structure because of our ability to improvise and respond to changes in our environment. Where does one go to learn such a trait? It might be instinctive but working out our instinct can save us in conceding situations. Performing arts does provide such workout; while theatre performers improvise lines and think on the top of their heads when on the spot, musicians also has to find an alternative to the missing note in the middle of an orchestrated number. There are more unthinkable ways in which performing arts can help enhance the ability to make reflexed decisions.

A waste of time or a waste of money? Even though placed strategically in a question, in this context these are concerns that are raised globally when it comes to performing arts. Can you put a price on culture and bliss? No. A price cannot be plastered on long lived cultures and history. Culture is our identity. It’s the root of what makes us who we are. Without a deep rooted culture a country has nothing but figures in a lost generation. Learning from history we will unable improve on the nearby future.

The question is not. Is performing arts a dead theatrics? But rather, why not pursue performing arts?

As a youth of 16 years old I can testify that performing arts more than aided me to become the character that I am and the citizen that I envision. As a young boy I was always bullied for being different from the others. I had a small frame and I had a high pitch voice. I would always blame myself and my structure for being bullied. I began to think that I was the problem. That somehow the world would be a better place without me crowding spaces uselessly. I was an A-grade student but I felt unworthy. Even though my parents continually advised me to steer away from the arts I began to explore the possibilities of performing arts and the confidence that the performers had. Soon I learned that the world was like a theatre. You can choose to be the spectator or the performer. Either way the show must go on. I am not implying that I am the most comfortable and confident teenager in the world but rather that performing arts helped me understand that I am also a unique individual with unique views and unique features.

The arts might just be the raft that your brother, sister, daughter or son needs to shake out of the slump of depression.

My message for the youth is, “Don’t be afraid of the arts and its stereotypes. You hold the knife in the forest of opinions so clear your own unique path where you and your personality can easily go through”



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