Role of Theatre in Personality Development

User Profile Image

By Education Today

Posted on April 7, 2022


11 min read

Whatsapp Facebook LinkedIn
Role of Theatre in Personality Development

We have been living in such a phase where the relationship between education and humans have started to have new dimensions formed. Today’s educational policies have made education a mere practice that secures a job rather than imparting knowledge. The base of all this is the need to fulfil the scientific requirements of human life. Educational categories have been questioned based on the outcome which depends on the subjects chosen. Thus, we are forced to look for the most remunerated categories of employment. This is why scientific education like computer science attain greater importance.

While men today focus only on the financial gain in the torrential flow of momentary employment revolution, firmly believing in his safety and security, he seldom fails to realize that he has been losing out on many other assets of human life. If at all he realizes this, his active life would have reach at an irretrievable stage. 

A man’s life attains development through both physical and mental paths. It is through the development of these two parts by which he reaches a completion on his scientific observations and spirituality. The development of these two aspects is crucial in one’s life. Not only is there no scope for such a development in today’s educational system, but also, they fail to go through the same, it is here that the scientific oriented education plans lurk danger. In today’s automated era where human minds are engaged in the modern machines, human minds too resemble machines. Though the scientific requirements have been fulfilled to a limit, this atmosphere fails to justify the aesthetic empathy.

Amongst the millions of living beings on this universe, only humans have the ability to laugh and think. The mind which is the source of all thoughts is complex in nature as well. It is here that emotional satisfaction transcending science gains its importance. Humans are a part of nature. Scientific developments are essential for materialistic developments.  They have been developing in new ways making us believe that they are quite old.  However, as we re-examine these scientific developments, we get to recognize that they all make us go antinature.  A stone thrown upwards landing down is due to gravity, a process that begins with nature’s nature.  On the contrary, we also expected to fly through the wide skies through the help of a fuel.  Such realizations by overcoming the natural hindrances inevitable for a materialistic gain.

While seeking happiness through external achievements, there is something that we seldom do not realise, and forget often the inner level related to our mind.  What is his mi creates a base to man’s satisfaction and that paves way for his thoughts to enter.  It is this same mind that creates all the problems in his life.  Mingling with the apt art forms may pave way to self-satisfaction.  In these modern times where the external requirements keep adding on and running behind them with dissatisfaction, man often abandons and forgets this spiritual level. Therefore, even when having attained everything, he feels incomplete of not having achieved something, fills himself with worries and remains irritated. We may say that the ideal art forms attract humans who are going against nature’s nature to retain them as a part of nature.

India used to follow an approach where every act related to life was considered an artform. These art forms have been divided into Useful Arts and Fine Arts. It is said that there existed 64 artforms. Beginning with materialistic requirements such as the stitches of a cloth, it includes even music, which takes the imaginary emotions to infinity and beyond.  While the external factors of life are taken into consideration with an artistic approach, the mental requirements of deeper levels are approached and fulfilled with beauty through Fine Arts.

Everything is forms of art to us. The ‘aesthetic experience’ as what the tourists call it an experience to us.  The word ‘experience’ can be made meaningful using two words. We have it so wide and abundance. Experience is a mixture our feelings and our observation at the same time. These experiences occur at a different mental state. While associating with the apt art forms, they enter through the doors of senses, reach a metaphysical state and create an ethereal state. Thus, while glimpsing through the best art forms, we do not expect to attain mere pleasure to the senses. We always aim to pure and meaningful experiences through these ideal art forms. We have been experiencing the same through our audio-visual art forms. Creativity is the base to these. 

One begins to develop his personality since his birth. Once the child grows into a man and begins to recognize his body, mind and character, there are changes of feelings of incompletion and inferiority to rise in him. There is no use of realizing after attaining maturity. The background in which he grows, the parental approach and the communicating areas affects the child’s mentality to a great extent. Parents should not only aim at self-sufficiency during the child’s development. Since man is a part of nature, he should be able to interact and converse with the nature. He should also learn to be considerate towards his fellow-beings, love them, thus creating a symbiosis. The current educational systems teach their students to compete amongst their fellow-beings and create comparisons. While trying to succeed competitively, they try to buckle down the others. We need to see that the seeds of competitiveness and resentment are not sown in the young minds.

Children who are forced to concentrate on academic subjects, avoiding interaction with the outer world are often incapable of facing problems in life. It is a proven fact that a child growing in womb for six months into a boy or girl and attaining mental growth happens within the first 5 years. Children’s’ imagination is too wide. With the increase in their maturity each year, the creativity gets lesser. Each fact that they face are questioned through their scientific scales of interpretation.  Each interrogation puts a limit to the creativity.

The most essential part of performing arts is creativity.  Children’s creativity has no limits and logic. They are infinite beyond such aspects. Their world, completely different from the adults consists of animals, dolls, stars and moon. The ambiance and characters from the stories that they hear, see and feel are not mere imaginary experiences to them. On the other hand, the characters that they’ve known since long are considered their friends. It seems to them that they have spoken to these characters long ago.

Acting is quite an inborn talent within humans.  It is one of the characteristics which lays hidden in him since birth.  Haven’t we seen kids mimic their parents, grandparents, birds, animals, police, drivers and others?  This can be considered their first lesson in acting.  These are moments where he hides his own identity and showcases his talent to become another person. The essence of acting mimicking abilities and showcase them.

The imaginary world of kids is flamboyant.  The elders are responsible to grow this imagination, and create an atmosphere for this creativity to strengthen and make it a background of their life.  Their talent to sing, draw an act may start showing up in their lives at a very young age. We need to find and nurture them. By identifying and proving a sense of creativity, we not only look forward to its materialistic benefits. On the other hand, we need to understand it plays a great role in shaping up their personality. All such performances are the outflow of the permanent emotions, they could also be a travel path beyond language and gestures, and the exchange of knowledge and experiences between his fellow beings.

Haven’t we seen the primitive man hunt and involve himself in natural processes and communicate to his fellow beings through cave paintings before evolution of languages? There were communities worldwide who celebrated festivals of fruitfulness and reflected their mental satisfaction through folk dances and group dances. These are all art forms. 

There are festivals to be enjoyed through sight, sounds and feels. Visual arts are to be seen, music is to be heard, dance forms and dramas are to be seen and heard. The art forms that are to be heard and seen are commonly called ‘audio-visual arts. Drama is an amalgamated form of all these arts. Painting, sculpture, architecture, classical and contemporary dances and all other art forms are contained together in the acting skill. Beyond the curtained, contained and screened dramas that we see today, there are infinite other art forms. 

Kerala is a land with heritage art forms, cultural practices and folk-art forms with significance in acting. These are all seen in theatre these days. ‘Theatres’ are related to human lives. It is a place which relates to the human expressions, traditions, routines, habits, preferences and imagination.

Studies have been taking place worldwide giving great significance to ‘theatre’, considering it a subject. Theatre presentations takes place by portraying basic expressions through individual efforts and motivation. There are presentations that are bound by small communities worldwide and are related to the standards of living of people belonging to a region. They have mingled with different traditions. According to anthropology, the standards of living of a society can be seen in their traditions. These acquired culture which have been passed on through generations is a collective of complex thoughts and conduct that is shared amongst the public. These cultures are exchanged through languages and imitation skills. Therefore, the reflections of the real life can be experienced in theatres. 

Every theatrical art form is a collective of performances that are a recognition of cultural and regional distinctions. In today’s times of globalization and consumerization, while a product becomes viral with the support of multinational company without regional distinctions and we being suppressed with them, we succumb to new tastes and attitude, transcending our taste, attitude and habits. Gradually, the world slips into a single attitude. Here, there are no problems of cultural integrity that arise. On the other hand, it is the different societies and their cultural diversities that are posed threat on.

The art forms of a society arise according to its dignity and lifestyle. Such societies also conduct cultural transactions. Today, as we globally teach our children value-oriented subjects on a competitive basis, we need to educate them with realizations about our age-old customs and traditions too. This is because these children are the assets, wealth, and value of the society. The external achievements ignoring them may fulfil our temporary requirements. But human life becomes meaningful when both the external and civil needs have been fulfilled.

Through ‘theatre experiences’, children are given the opportunity to gain maturity. Theatre camps follow practice policies of generating concentration, interpretation skills, colour sense, shape identification skills, sharing mentality, and dedication amongst them. According to international education systems, theatre is also considered amongst other academic subjects. Except in our state, most parts of the world have drama stages set up for children. In those countries, theatre education is made a part of primary, secondary, as well as university levels. ‘The Children’s Theatre Conference’ in America is a national art organization that focuses on improving the acting skills of children. ‘The Children’s Theatre’ in New York was established and expanded in association creative thinkers like Mark Twain, William Dean Howells, Brander Matthews, and Otto Collins. This theatre creates movies and dramas exclusively for children. Many major establishments like ‘The Vancouver Holiday Players’ in British Columbia, ‘The Manitoba Theatre for Young People’ in Winnipeg, ‘Royal Court’ in England, ‘Pegasus Club’ in Sheffield, ‘Belgrade Civic Theatre’, ‘Twin bee Theatre’, ‘St. Parkers Group’ in England, ‘Teenage Theatre’, ‘National Youth Theatre’ and many such establishments function for kids interested in cinemas and drama, and function as a centre for their career development as well. Theatres can influence a lot in carving a person into a better one. It is fruitful for both their physical as well as mental development. 

As today’s children grow up to become tomorrow’s citizens, may they be equality minded, empathetic, compassionate towards their fellow beings, loving, nature loving, and have a feeling of sensation, may they live as a part of nature without losing their aesthetic sense to live a value-oriented life. Art forms are more expressive than life. When he interacts with them, his identity becomes more refined. Only ideal art forms have the ability to make the reader’s mind crystal clear. 

                                                                    Translated By Swetha Sukumar

Dr. Raja Varier


Centre for Preforming & Visual  Arts,

University of Kerala, Kariavattom, Thiruvananthapuram