College students meditate on mindfulness

12th January 2023

Performing & Production Arts students at Stratford-upon-Avon College have been taking time to pause and reflect as they develop mindfulness skills during meditation sessions.

Students from across the College’s range of Performing & Production Arts courses, including Acting, Backstage Production Arts, Dance, Music Performance & Production and Musical Theatre, have scheduled sessions in their timetable each week to develop important skills to improve mental and physical health.

The mindfulness room has been set up with a relaxing atmosphere and soundscape

During the sessions, students have been exploring mindfulness, mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques along with mindful practice & meditation. Topics include communication, body language, perception, intention, motivation, discipline, how to build confidence and resilience.

Claire Morley, Programme Manager for the Performing & Production Arts department, is leading the sessions. She highlights why the sessions were introduced: “Mindfulness is such a key element of good mental health and well-being. In the designing of the students’ study programme, and after discussions with the team, we all felt that a session on every programme that is dedicated to the development and maintenance of mindfulness would really enhance their development as performers and individuals.”

She continued: “The aim of the sessions is to support learners to manage their time at college but also use these skills in their future. It is also to support them moving through to their next steps through auditions giving them the tools and techniques that they can use if they choose a career in the Performing Arts Industry.”

Students can sit or lie down in whatever position is most comfortable for them to relax during the mindfulness sessions

Mo Dash and Sophia Whyte are Backstage Production Arts students who currently take part in the sessions. Mo comments: “In our industry it’s always go go go, so it is so beneficial to develop skills now to learn to pause and focus that we can use in the future.”

Sophia adds: “It really helps take away mental stress and worries. It also gives us a chance to share our worries with the group and/or lecturers in a safe space where we are listened to.”

Eve Bannon, who studies Acting, has really benefited from the regular practise: “It has been so helpful to take time out and be in the moment. It has equipped me with plenty of exercises to use when I’m stressed like breathing and being grounded as well as helping to structure my day.”

The sessions have been so successful that they have even started to be offered to staff, with a staff session being held at the end of last term with the plan for more to follow. Claire hopes to continue Mindfulness sessions going forward: “In the future we would like to see the mindfulness programme continue into future academic years and across other programmes in the College. We have seen such a positive response in our department that we feel confident the impact across the curriculum areas could be significant.”

Find out more about the College’s Performing & Production Arts courses: SUAC Onstage