Drama classes and acting for teenagers

Drama classes and acting for teenagers | www.thekidsareallright.com.au

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Drama and other performance activities can be great for developing a teenager’s self-confidence, creativity, the ability to work in a team and the ability to work through a problem to achieve a goal. In the right environment, it will encourage self-discovery and should also be a whole lot of fun.

There are many studies citing the benefits of drama as therapy. For a moving post on this topic, read The Benefits of Drama Classes for Kids with Aspergers & Autism on the blog Counting Time. For Queensland residents, 3DKIDZ is a unique drama-based program engaging children and adolescents with developmental and behavioural disorders. In Sydney, Drama Scene runs a weekly drama group for girls and boys (aged 7-14) on the Autism spectrum and their siblings.

Here is a list of ideas for helping your teenager explore dramatic performance – beyond the domestic teen dramatics of door-slamming and eye-rolling.

School drama

Drama is taught in most high schools as part of the curriculum, but there are often further creative opportunities through school drama clubs and extended drama activities such as school musicals and plays. If your child isn’t keen on taking a lead performing role, they could enjoy a chorus role or filling one of the technical positions behind the scenes.

Extra-curricular drama classes

If your teenager wants to learn more about drama than is offered at school, or if they would prefer to explore their creative side away from their immediate peers, then look for an out-of-school drama organisation. These usually offer after-school classes by the school term as well as holiday workshops. Lessons will vary in price – smaller, privately run schools such as Drama Scene in NSW (mentioned above) or Marzipan Drama in Qld will cost around $130-150 a school term, whereas term classes at schools such as NIDA (in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne) are $250-$300 a term.

If your teenager is interested in performing in professional productions, drama schools will also often receive casting notices for plays and films.

Performing arts schools

For the truly dedicated, there are high schools around Australia that offer streamed education in dance, music and drama, taught alongside traditional subjects. These may be a Government school or an independent school. Enrolment may be dependent on an audition.

Film-making for teenagers

Short-film competitions are a fantastic way for kids to create their own “work”, and help teenagers get experience in all aspects of film-making, including behind-camera roles such as editing and directing. Trop Jr  accepts films from kids under the age of 16; older teens can enter Tropfest, the world’s largest short film festival.

Many local councils also have short film competitions – check your local council website or ask at your local library.

Getting professional experience

If your teenager would like some professional experience in a film or play, there are various websites that advertise opportunities. A lot of these jobs (extras and small parts in short films and features) do not require an agent (see below) as they are being produced by students and small, independent production companies. Not all work will be paid.

To see what film roles are currently available for kids, teenagers and young adults, have a look at www.starnow.com.au.

Acting agents

If your teenager is serious about getting work as an actor or building a career, they will need an acting agent. A children’s acting agent takes young people up to the age of around 16-18, and generally charge an annual membership fee that usually includes the cost of photos. An adult’s agency will not charge a registration fee, but only takes teenagers from about the age of 16 and you will cover the cost of photos yourself. An adult acting agency will typically be much harder to get into than a junior acting agency. The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance website has a list of theatrical agencies in Australia.



Has your child ever done drama classes or other performance activities?
Was it enjoyable for them? Not their thing?




  1. My younger two are both enrolled in extra-curricular drama classes this year, they have rehearsals for the major performances of the year on this weekend. The primary school kids are doing a musical-ish play that’s vaguely related to King Arthur, Mr11 is a depressed Jester and has to do a fair bit of solo singing. Ms14 is in the Youth Theatre group and they’re doing a play about homeless kids.

    Mr11 first went along to the drama classes back in 2009, they did Midnite: The Play and it was fabulous. He started out that year loving the idea of being on stage but freaked out by the reality, we had a lot of bundle-dropping and he almost gave up and quit altogether in between the matinee and evening performance of Midnite. By the end of the year he had got to the point of being awarded the “most improved” trophy at the end of year performance. I’m looking forward to seeing how this year’s production turns out.

    Ms14 was involved with the high school drama ensemble last year and was in the school’s production of Beauty and the Beast this year (as a spoon), her true love is singing so a straight-forward acting role is something new for her, she seems to be enjoying it all so far.

    There would not be enough bribe money in the world to drag Mr16 up on stage in front of people.

    • Oops. Mixed metaphor alert. Bribe money entices, should have gone with wild horses instead. Much more amusing mental image as well.

    • Thekids says:

      Good on Mr11 for sticking it out, and how awesome that was recognised by the teachers. I imagine those hours between the matinee and evening performance would have been tough – for you as well. I’ve often wanted to quit halfway through something if it feels bad. Kids are such troopers. And lovely to hear that Ms15 is testing herself too. There are far fewer opportunities to do this kind of stuff in a supportive environment in adulthood – it’s great they are taking advantage of that. And also great that Mr16 knows what he wants, or doesn’t want. It isn’t for everyone.

  2. Hi there, this is a good comprehensive look at what’s around. I have interviewed a person in Victoria who does drama for children and teens with ASD with great results. I know that we still use role playing with our teen and it’s very helpful. I wish my Mr13 would do some drama as he loved it at primary school. Recently he did sets and behind the scenes for a school play so that was great, but I think he’d enjoy more theatre in his life… he says not, so that’s it for the moment. Very glad my younger two have a lot of drama at their school.
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    • Thekids says:

      I performed in high school, but at uni left it to the pros (the theatre students 🙂 ) and did behind the scenes roles, and loved it. It’s fun to feel a part of something bigger than yourself – everyone works together to create something special. Seana do you know if there is a drama teacher/school in Sydney for ASD kids?

  3. I try to get the kids into it, but they refuse…mind you, one of them I think will grow into it (he seems to take to the school play with gusto!) Confidence is the key, I guess…

    • Thekids says:

      There’s probably no point forcing kids – to do anything, really! They all have their different interests.

  4. Oh, how I loved drama club! I’ll definitely give my kids the opportunity to be in one if they want to be. Nothing beats the feeling of being on stage.

  5. bachelormum says:

    I totally agree about drama boosting kids’ confidence and no better time during the teen years. I’ll be putting my poppet in for a session just for her to explore her personality and be a bit silly in the process x

  6. EssentilallyJess says:

    Obviously my kids at e a little young yet, but I can definitely see the marks of some drama queens amongst them. Particularly in their desire to always put on a show 🙂
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  7. I kind of miss my teen’s drama days, she gave up the lessons she was going to since Kindy when she started high school. I guess she’s enough of a drama queen without the lessons now 😉
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  8. How did you find out about all those casting calls? Oh that’s right, I forgot. You know people in higher places 🙂
    I think one of the twins is going to be a bit of a thespian. He loves his dancing. Then again, the other one loves his singing. Maybe they’ll have their own band or something. Lord. Help. Us.
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    • Thekids says:

      Ha! Not really 🙂 Most can be found online. The all-singing, all-dancing Nunu and K-Bear!! Cannot wait.



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