01 March 2022 | Emma Monnickendam
School for me was an interesting time, to say the least. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I didn’t excel in academia or sports. In retrospect, school was perhaps the hardest few years of my life. I was not given any forewarning at my 13th birthday that the next couple years would be so difficult. I struggled. A lot. As most people do at that age. An age where you are still trying to figure out who you are, who you want to be and trying to navigate where you stand in this strange and confusing world. At a time where I felt the extreme pressures to ‘fit in’, look a certain way, be liked by boys, have lots of friends, have a social life and do well at school, it seemed like the only thing that helped me to not lose touch with myself was drama.
In many ways, drama has been a form of escapism in my life. Particularly amidst the chaos and stress of my school days, I am thankful for my weekly drama lessons. It was in that sole hour of my school week that I was able to de-stress, be creative and break the rules- qualities that seemed to lack in my other academic subjects. My drama teachers encouraged me to be myself and to embrace my individuality despite my lack of confidence, and for that I am eternally grateful.
From a young age investigating identities has been a favourite pastime of mine. This interest very much manifested itself into an ability to daydream throughout most of my school lessons. Going to school in a big city meant that I could observe millions of faces possessing millions of different life stories from my classroom window. Whilst my daydreaming abilities were not highly encouraged at school, my overactive imagination and fascination with people has proven to be a useful tool in my acting. In daydreaming I tend to observe, unpick and learn about the people around me. This same opportunity to delve into and explore the lives of many characters is one of the many reasons why I love theatre and acting. Despite being quite a shy and introverted teenager, I was able to express myself freely and confidently in my drama lessons. Stepping into a character’s shoes and becoming someone else with a completely different story, provided me with a tool in which I could openly communicate with confidence. I thank my classroom daydreaming in helping me to embody different characters.
I’m 20 now, in my final year of university and am in the middle of auditioning for drama schools. I am surrounded by beautiful friends and have a great social life. I can think and do creatively. Theatre has played a large part in providing me with confidence to achieve all these things. As my confidence in drama grew, so did my confidence in myself. Acting for me has been the best way to express myself, creatively and unapologetically. My love for reading, acting and watching theatre has helped me learn a lot more about my own identity.
To anyone who is on the fence about whether they want to get involved with drama, I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a brilliant tool to have in life and AppleShed is a great place to start.