Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Eisteddfods - love them or hate them?

Eisteddfod time is here again and every year I ask myself the same question - do I love them or hate them? I've decided to make a list of the fors and againsts...
Love them because :
1. Great opportunity for kids to perform
2. Kids get to watch each other
3. Wonderful bonding takes place at events like festivals and eisteddfods
4. Kids love getting trophies and being recognised for their hard work
Hate them because:
1. They breed competitiveness
2. Kids who don't place often feel miserable
3. It brings out the very worst in stage mothers and bad losers
4. It rewards unnatural '"eisteddfod style" acting
5. I have a problem with judging creativity

Being a creative, sensitive soul without a competitive bone in my body, eisteddfods are not really for me, but many of my students love them. If you or your child wants to take part, my advice is to perform for the love of performing, NOT to win. I have taught students in the past whose parents have pulled them out of sections in eisteddfods if they thought they weren't going to win. What message is that sending to the child? Just last week I heard of a 12 year old being stripped of her 1st place when another mother complained that her performance piece was 11 seconds too long!

Keep in mind that the adjudicators are human beings with their own personal tastes. Unfortunately (in my opinion), many of them love the classics and a certain forced style of acting. I for one, cannot stand another drama about cats, princesses, mice or witches. I don't want to see another performance of Little Women, Charlotte's Web or Anne of Green Gables. I like to see kids performing contemporary scripts that they can relate to. I like natural acting. Acting is creative and as such is very hard to judge, as it often boils down to personal opinion.

If you take part in eisteddfods, do so with a fun attitude. Share the spirit of performance, love your time on stage and above all else, have fun!

Some of my students who took part in a recent festival for the sheer joy of performing. I love this festival as the organisers make sure everyone gets a ribbon and if 3 people deserve first place and 2 deserve second, then they award 3 firsts, 2 seconds and so on. We need more festivals like this, that celebrate performance instead of judging it.

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