30 July 2017

Choosing the Arts is NOT the Easy Option

This post sort of came about from my last post, coming from the idea that people need to give theatre and the arts a chance. Throughout my life, people have said to me that doing drama is stupid, and it's the easy way out if you don't want to work hard and do something 'academic'. If I had a £1 for every time someone has said that to me, or something similar to that... Well, let's just say, I could have got through University without needing to budget. Yet, every time someone has said it to me, I found myself laughing and saying 'Alright. You think what you want.' It's only recently, throughout my time at University, that I've started to ask why. Why do people think it's an easy option? Why do people think that drama students are stupid? Why do people think that a qualification in the arts is any less than a qualification in Science, Maths, or History?

When I told someone once about what my course entailed, they ignored everything I said about working every single day, sometimes 12 hours a day in busy periods, coming home and having research tasks to do by the next day, learning lines, remembering blocking etc. The one thing that always stands out is 'no written exams.' People always misunderstand this, and think that we are lucky. Your typical degree will have lectures, coursework handed in as a dissertation, and a final examination (obviously not the exact format, but this is an example). So this means, that your grade is reflected on the work you put in outside of class alone, writing your coursework and preparing for your exams. In my BA Acting degree, I was assessed every day. Every. Single. Day. We work in small groups so it's easy for our lecturers and directors to see who is pulling their weight, and who is slacking. They feed back to the moderator and tell them how we do in rehearsals, which is reflected in our grade. And because of the nature of our course, you can't take a day off whenever you like. I mean, you technically can, but it would be detrimental. You miss one day, you miss (approx.) 6 hours of rehearsals, which is pretty damn hard to catch up on. There isn't going to be a PowerPoint. You really learn the importance of team work, and you can't let your team down. You are a vital cog which keeps the process ticking over smoothly. People don't want to spend the next day's rehearsal repeating everything from the day before, because you couldn't be bothered to show up.

I missed one 3 hour lecture of improvising and devising in first year because I physically couldn't move out of bed. That's the only lecture/rehearsal I missed in my 3 years of university. You had to show up if you wanted to learn. You learn through exploration, and if you're not present to do that, what are you going to learn? If you're having a bad day, leave it at the door. You can't sulk in the corner, you have to give it your all no matter how bad you're feeling. One persons bad vibe can bring down the entire class, and it affects your productivity. This is something that you don't tend to get with any other degree. I've been there, I've had bad days. However, as soon as I let it affect me in class, that's where I started letting people down, and that's not ok.

Through studying Acting, I have learnt more about politics, and current world affairs than I ever did in school. I truly understood the importance of it, rather than just be given a text book and told to memorise it for the exam. From researching plays, to how other people have lived, though a lot of them are fictional characters, they are based on real people, and real things. Through this I learnt empathy. Empathy is something that not all people have, and I think everyone should have. Studying the arts has definitely made me a more empathetic person. When you work so closely with people, you learn things about people's views, their beliefs - something you wouldn't necessarily know if they were just in your class of 300 in a lecture hall... you may not even speak to them. I have made friends from all over the world during my time at Trinity which opens up great discussions about how things are done in their country, or even a certain part of the UK. To be honest, before coming to University, I didn't really have any political views. I was very unaware of how things worked, and that's down to me not putting in the time and research I needed to do to understand it. During my second year, I worked with an amazing director, who shone light on the importance of having our say, and doing our own research. Since then, I've tried to be as active as I can politically, keeping up to date with everything that is going on in this world, and most importantly, I vote!

The people I have met are also so diverse, not only in terms of politically and where they're from, but who they are as a person. I have met people who are transgender, non-binary, LGBTQIA, you name it. Some of these terms I have never had never heard of before, and talking with people openly about who they are, and what defines them or doesn't define them as a person was eye-opening. So maybe I would have learnt about all this in life eventually, but I believe studying my degree was the best choice I could have made. It made me feel more connected with people, and I've said it before, and I'll say it again... I've made friends for life.

People have also said to me... what's the point? You just prance about on stage for a bit, learn a few lines. Surely that's not a degree? No. That's not the degree. If that's what you think drama is, you are wrong. So very wrong. How anyone can be that closed minded, and not see how much hard work goes into what we do, is beyond me. People have said 'Drama is stupid!' - well, alright. If you think it's so stupid and you don't appreciate it... Do me a favour, and how about you never watch your favourite Netflix programme, the next big blockbuster at the cinema... because I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but the people involved in those projects live and breathe the arts. Not just the actors you see on screen, but every single person behind the scenes who work tirelessly to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

I have heard many discussions where people have had nothing but bad things to say about University in general, and I'm not just speaking about drama any more. Personally, I believe that everyone should experience University if there's something you're passionate about, or you want to expand your horizons/knowledge.

And yes. University/College isn't essential, but education is.


  1. I would have never of thought as a study of the arts as an east option, Until reading this, I didn't have a clue what the course would entail at all, but I'm not artistic in the slightest and would know I would be awful at any of the courses so it's something I never looked into. Well done you :)

  2. I never would have thought of drama as an easy option and think that is such an ignorant view. The dedication and work that goes into it is incredible

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post - I couldn't agree more. If I had to be assessed every day on my degree course, I don't think I'd have passed. Drama skills can be so useful in many many different careers as well - as a teacher, I probably use drama every day to get the children engaged. Public speaking, empathy...all valuable life skills!

  4. As an English and a Drama graduate I couldn't agree more, though I agree that sadly some people do still think it is x

  5. I had no idea how Arts worked as I did a science degree, it's totally different but just as challenging!

  6. This is such an interesting read. I've come to the conclusion that we all judge, and are judged by others, and it's so frustrating. People judge and dismiss what they don't understand, and it's really thoughtless. My daughter has type 1 diabetes, and people often dismiss it as nothing, when in fact it is a major deal, so this post rang all the bells for that reason. But she's also very interested in drama - and good at it. I'd never really considered that others would assume it's a cop out of a degree, but I can totally see that now. Thank you for setting people's minds on a different track - she may well end up being judged on both scores!

  7. I never got to do the arts at school as we were focussed on academia which was a real shame. I think if you have a talent, you should persue your dreams and I love that acting has made you research politics and what is going on in the world

  8. I think the arts are incredibly difficult and subjective. One of my uni housemates did art and she was always improvising and working hard.


The Final Countdown

So... 2 more sleeps until I head up to Scotland to begin my next adventure. Though I don't start rehearsals for another 6 sleeps, i...