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Anyone can help himself or herself keep fit and feel well by taking part in weekly exercise or sport. Taking part in sport and exercise can help you to cope with your worries, can help you to sleep, and can help you lose weight (if you also change the way you eat!). Taking part in exercise and sport can help you meet people outside your home and have fun. It can help a lot if you feel down, angry or sad. Some people have heart problems, some have breathing difficulties and many are overweight. Many people also smoke and eat a lot of fatty food with too much salt. Many people don’t walk anywhere or do any exercise. Regular exercise can help with all of these problems.
Many people will have taken part in exercise at some time in their lives but do not do so at present. They may have moved, lost friends or groups of support. Previous activities may not have been taken up again and new activities not pursued or set up.
People also forget how much fun they had when doing sport and they forget other benefits like learning new skills, or having better concentration and self-confidence. Remember that it is going out of the house, meeting people and having fun in exercise and sport that makes people want to keep coming back, not just the exercise or keeping fit.
Where do you go and who do you ask?
When you ask about sports for people with a learning disability at the town hall, in libraries or elsewhere, you may only be provided with a list of activities for disabled people and not a list of all the activities available. Often the variety and number of activities for people with disabilities is low. But you should ask for a full list of what sport and exercise classes are available in your area, so that you have more choice. You have the right to be included. There could be more than a hundred different types of exercise and sport sessions in your community!
Making sessions accessible for you
Anyone new to sport or exercise needs coaching to learn the basic skills so they can take part.
Meet the instructor or coach before attending the first time to discuss what they can do to help you take part successfully. Often they will need some information about you to include you fully in a sports session. You can help them yourself by telling them what you can do and how they need to communicate with you to help you learn the rules and play the game.
Why do people start acting?
People start acting for many reasons. So what about you? It could be that you want to make friends, do something fun, or grow in confidence. You may have dreams of becoming famous one day or simply want to perform in a play on a real stage. Perhaps someone has recommended joining a drama group, or like Dean, you may have been inspired by some actors on stage or screen.
Different kinds of acting
There are many different kinds of acting and drama styles. From comedy and improvisations to melodrama or Shakespeare, you’re sure to find something which suits you. Many drama groups will explore a range of acting styles depending on the play. Sometimes you will be trying to make everything realistic, drawing on your own life experiences, but then at other times you may just have to use your imagination.
The importance of backstage roles
Drama groups need lots of different kinds of people, not just budding actors. A play couldn’t go on without the lights, props, costumes, music or direction.
Directors and assistant directors pull the whole show together, running the rehearsals and making important decisions. Technicians operate light and sound, set designers build the stage and make-up artists make actors look their best. They can age or disguise them too. Stage managers like Dean are crucial for finding and organising props and making sure actors know what’s happening off stage, and they often need an assistant. These roles are just the tip of the iceberg; there are many other people that help to pull a show together: costume designers, stage hands, artists and ushers, to name a few.
Building confidence, making friends
Drama and theatre have long been known to boost confidence and build self-esteem. They have an amazing power to help those who have difficulties in social contexts to relate to one another, providing a platform on which friendships and bonds are formed.
Through the use of theatre games and warm ups, we learn to be more comfortable and trusting of those around us, sharing in the special experiences which occur in the safety net of our drama group.
Ice-breakers are a wonderful way to begin a drama session, getting us used to each other. For example they can encourage eye contact which someone might find too daunting in another context, thus paving the way for the ‘real’ acting or role plays to occur.
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