What is Sociodrama?
Sociodrama uses dramatic play to explore issues that matter to the kids. We use improv to act out problems that the kids want to talk about - like bullying, friend conflicts, parent rules etc - and then change roles so kids get to play a couple of the parts. We talk about the choices each character made and how that created the ending of the story. Many times we re-enact the story with different endings to see how they play out. Then we end with discussions where kids share what they discovered and their feelings about the issue. Kids don't need to be actors or have any background - just come with a great attitude, open to listen and explore.
What skills do kids learn?
Empathy, decision-making, conflict resolution, confidence in expressing your opinion, using your voice to be heard, understanding body language and it's power in conversation, increased emotional intelligence, spontaneous improvisational skills, but most importantly, seeing the world through someone else's eyes and improving relationships.
Who should take the class?
Anyone who likes dramatic play and is open to talking about stuff that confuses them as they grow up. The leader will never force anyone to be an actor or talk in front of the group - but most kids will join in when they realize that it is safe and fun. All kids will have to promise not to share specifics about others in the class - so be sure child will agree to that.
Is this therapy?
Sociodrama is therapeutic, but not therapy. We are always dealing with the problems of the group, and the stories that we act out are fictional. We never knowingly act out one child's story. The idea is that the story is built on a shared topic, and everyone can relate and contribute. We do not delve into deep psychological issues - that is more appropriate in a therapeutic setting with an individual counselor.
My child is shy.....
Shy kids do very well in sociodrama, because of the structure of the class. Shy kids do best when they know what is coming next and they don't have to take risks to participate. The first few weeks can be a time for the child to observe - that is fine. Most kids can't help but jump in once things get rolling!
My child wants to be an actor - is this an acting class?
While this is not an acting class, it is a great experience for potential young actors. We begin with acting games that develop general improv skills, and the kids have fun making their characters within the stories realistic. This class helps young people to connect to their characters and keep them real, which transitions them from childish over-acting into the ability to play adult roles. Exploring issues helps all young people develop empathy, which is an important part of the craft of acting. So, yes, it is a good class for young actors, but no, it is not an acting class!