Saturday, June 18, 2011

No diva policy

Lady in the ST Forum page talks sense in her critique of our schools' current operating philosophy:

"This mindset of running schools as businesses, where results are the bottom-line objective, and the push for medals makes sportsmanship an unimportant secondary trait, has resulted in educators, schools, as well as parents stressing and promoting results at the expense of other areas of development that are just as important, if not more so, in building a gracious, progressive and resilient society."

I don't know about the "gracious, progressive and resilient society", but even in subjects that are designed for the students to learn from their own failures (yes, honey, there ARE such subjects in school) we won't allow them to fail because we are always there to supervise and guide them, even when the learning is meant to be done independently. Hence, apart from what we've indoctrinated them with, they haven't really learned much else by the time they graduate.

Of course, I'm talking about things I have no control over. But while I do have control over the NYeDC, even though we participate in the bi-annual SYF (Drama), our policy is to never take in students applying under the Direct School Admission (DSA) programme -- that is, students applying for school admission on the grounds of their talent in a particular niche the school seeks to compete in. Think "sports scholarship", in US terms.

The NYeDC is open to all comers, regardless of "talent" or experience. We emphasize ensemble theatre, which requires teamwork from all cast and crew throughout the pre- to post- production phases. As such, there is no need for any "star" performers with DSA credentials. Every member gets quality training and a fair chance to audition for roles in our productions. Fast learners or more experienced members contribute to the training of their fellow members and may opt to direct their own performances if they want to push themselves.

NYeDC's goals are bigger than just the award we compete for. We're training a group of young people with a passion for and knowledge of theatre; and whether as future performers or an audience, they will keep the art of the theatre alive and relevant in our society.