If you’re interested in the arts, there are many ways you can turn your favourite pastime into an English learning opportunity. After all, isn’t it much more enjoyable to learn while you’re having fun?
We’ve already discovered that there are some great ways to learn English using music and lyrics – now, read on to discover how the theatre can help you learn English…
1. Describe your hobby in English
If you love going to the theatre, tell someone about it! Using your hobbies and interests can provide you with a high level of motivation while you increase your bank of English vocabulary. First, recognise the difference between the tenses by describing whether you “go to the theatre” (current tense), “went to the theatre” (past tense) or are “going to the theatre” (future tense). Then extend your sentences by adding more details: “I like to go to the theatre at the weekend”; “I went to the theatre with my mother”; “I like to see musicals at the theatre”. Now use all the fabulous and colourful things about the theatre to describe the plays you see, the music you hear and the stories you experience. As you become more familiar with the kind of words that you’ll use again and again, you should find that your confidence soars.
2. See English-speaking plays
Once you feel you have a good grasp of the English language, try to see a play or show in English. We’ve spoken on our blog before about using English-speaking movies and TV shows. We know that these can provide you with much more than entertainment – and the theatre can do the same. Immersing yourself in an English language production can be a great help when you’re trying to expand your vocabulary. Listening to the conversations between characters and understanding their relationship is a good way of gaining a new perspective on expressing yourself in English. Perhaps you could start off with short plays and work up to longer plays or musicals. Or if you have a particular interest, such as Abba songs, you could see a show that is linked – like Mamma Mia! – as you may already be familiar with the vocabulary and language used.
3. Try acting for yourself
If you fancy being on the stage yourself, you could gather some fellow learners together and use the theatre as a great way to practise English while you perform. By reading and learning the scripts first, you can become more familiar with new words and their pronunciation. You can perform a play about almost any topic, so start off simple, such as meeting a friend for a coffee or buying a new pet. By participating in an English-speaking conversation, it will help to give you confidence to use the language in an everyday situation. Once you gain confidence, you could write the plays yourself, which will give you some writing practice, or even try some improvisation. This is where you have a topic, but the lines for the play are made up as you go along – you have to think quickly on your feet, but we’re sure your fellow learners will pitch in and help you!
4. Meet new people through theatre
Now you can use your hobby to meet new people, and this will give you the chance to practise your English more regularly. Not only can meeting new people provide you with more opportunities to use more varied vocabulary, it can also boost your confidence even more and help you to work better with others. Many of the skills you’ll learn can be transferrable. For example, if you’re learning to work as part of a team to put on an amateur theatre production, it might also help you in your workplace.