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Drama Masks“When we are born, we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools.”
― William Shakespeare, King Lear

Almost everyone dreads feeling foolish. But avoiding humiliation should not prevent us from risk-taking that frees our repressed, innate creativity. Participating in the performing arts is an important way to nurture a healthy sense of foolishness – a courageous imagination that embraces life’s possibilities. The arts keep the mind and spirit young.

Childish Example. Most children play make-believe and create imaginary worlds. They explore characters, jobs and roles – from domestic to exotic. Their imagination is reinforced by hands-on artistry: drawing, painting, sculpting, building, etc. Observe children at play, you’ll see they’re often humming, drumming and singing. Minds and bodies are fully engaged.

Growing Away from the Arts. As children progress through school, arts exposure usually diminishes and the emphasis on such creativity is marginalized. The regular “artsy” activities in elementary school become infrequent elective classes or rare field trips in upper grades. And once adults graduate, hands-on exposure to the performing arts often ends. Lacking opportunities to create, we become merely spectators. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Experiment, Sign Up, Join In. Here are a few organizations that can help foster your own creativity:

ACT- Nurture Your Inner Hamlet…or Piglet. The American Association of Community Theatre represents more than 7,000 theatres across the U.S. and its territories, involving 1.5 million volunteers.

trumpetPLAY- Dust off Your Instrument. Still have a trumpet or clarinet gathering dust? Tune it up and check out this community music site with links to 1,000+ community music groups, from Abbotsford (British Columbia) to Zeeland (Michigan). We found it through the Association of Concert Bands.

SING- Lift Your Voice – Not Just in the Shower. Almost everyone’s childhood included singing, yet many adults claim they cannot carry a tune. Recapture your love of singing in a community or church choir. Check out helpful resources and a member directory available from Chorus America.

Get (Properly) Foolish. Take a risk by rediscovering the performing arts! Join a group to act, play or sing and let the group’s inspiration ignite your passion. Without the creativity that flourishes in the performing arts, our emotions can stagnate. We might become boring, hollow shells just shuffling through life, mumbling to ourselves in grocery aisles or ranting at TV sets. Now that’s truly foolish!

Question: How do the performing arts nurture your inner foolishness?

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