Some years ago I moved to London from Italy, my English was not very fluent, so I started looking for ideas to improve it.

I could not stand the usual English classes, using books for students filled with student-friendly articles.

Browsing the website I found the Artman English group. The tagline said Learn English through theatre.

Wow, that's cool! I thought, so I went there and enjoyed it. It was one of those rare Hell Yeah! moments.

I had the chance to practice a lot of the English language, especially speaking and other skills related to drama. The environment was nice and friendly, perfect for learning and having fun.

Anyway, because of other commitments, I started going there only occasionally.

Last October, Artman English started a new drama class. The goal was to write a brand new play that would be performed in June 2018.

This time I took it seriously and was committed to attending as many classes as possible and participating in the final play.

The process of creating the story and the script was truly inspiring.

The first classes were focused on improvising and playing around with random ideas that popped up.

During the improvisation sessions, week by week, those ideas took shape, and the first characters were born.

Oliver, the coach and director and Jim, a writer (and a friend of his), expanded the ideas, defined the characters and created the script's first version.

The final play was composed of ten scenes, about 90 minutes long, to play with five (very) amateur actors.

Every week we used to meet at Stockwell Playhouse to do improvisation, work out some scenes or rehearse the script.

This experience pushed me outside of my comfort zone. Improvising and acting in English was something new for me.

That's why it was so worthwhile!

That is a typical pattern for me: when something is worthwhile, it very likely requires me to step out of my comfort zone.

These are the benefits that I think you get from attending a drama class, in my case Artman English:

  • You improve your conversation skills. You speak a lot, much more than in usual English lessons.
  • It's very stimulating for your creativity. Improvising and coming up with crazy ideas and listening to others' madness is a significant creativity boost. That is possible because of the safe environment, where nobody judges you and your quirks. -It improves your memory. Memorising a script with hundreds of words is not easy, and you'll have to rehearse many times to be fluent. Still, on the day of the play you'll probably forget sentences because of the pressure you feel being on the stage.
  • You connect with other authentic people that are free to be themselves. It may sound strange, but more people act in a corporate office than in a drama class.
  • It is fun. If you commit and keep attending class after class, you'll see magical things happening and feel part of it. And it will be fun, really fun.

A big thank you to Oliver, Paloma and all the crew of the Artman English.