Drama teachers instruct individuals and groups in the techniques and principles of acting. Drama students are evaluated and a course of study is then compiled and adapted to meet individual needs and abilities.
Drama therapists perform controlled sessions where theatre and drama-based activities are used to observe and explore the behaviour, attitudes and emotions of individuals experiencing physical, psychological, emotional or mental health problems.
Instruction may include diction, enunciation, voice development and accents as well as movement, acting styles and character development. Drama teachers may produce and direct plays for school and public performances and this will include the supervision of make-up, costumes, scenery and lighting.
Drama teachers in schools may also be involved in other activities such as sport and fund-raising. They work in a wide variety of work settings. At schools and colleges, they work indoors in offices, classrooms, auditoriums, studios and other areas where plays are performed. Some drama teachers may have private pupils and teach in their own or their pupils’ homes. Drama educators may specialise as drama coaches.
Employers of dramatherapists include the social services departments, residential homes, prisons, young offender units, schools, disability units, voluntary organisations and charities. Therapists commonly work as private practitioners or on a self-employed basis. Their work is with adults, young people and children who suffer from depression, anxiety, physical/psychiatric/neurological disorders, learning difficulties, dementia, autism, behavioural problems or emotional problems. Typical responsibilities of the job include assessing and monitoring clients' needs, planning and providing appropriate treatment, liaising with and taking referrals from other professionals including doctors, psychologists and other therapists. They need to maintain confidential records and case notes, help clients understand and address inner conflicts through drama processes such as role-play, storytelling, improvisation and script work. They need to enable clients to learn new skills and build confidence making use of props, equipment and materials. Other tasks include writing reports, attending short courses and workshops to keep skills up-to-date.