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Mime an important aspect of the teaching in the Academy

South Africa
07 September

The teaching of mime is so important in the Helen O'Grady Drama Academy because up to 80 percent of communication done during a day is non-verbal.  As human beings, our bodies are very in tune to receiving messages through our faces and bodies.  This type of communication is often neglected as many schools only focus on the verbal communication. To be a competent communicator we need to use our eyes, facial expression as well as our whole body to convey meaning. The better we do this together with our voice, the better communicator we become. 

The Helen O'Grady Drama Acadmey has for many years realised that, with 80 percent of our communication being non-verbal, the mime is an extremely important tool in developing good communicators.

UCLA professor Albert Mehrabian  developed one of the most well-known rules when it comes to non-verbal forms of communication. He determined that messages received in communication are actually mostly received in a non-verbal form. 

55% of messages received and processed by your brain are based on your body language. This means that you are actually judged more on your physical stance and facial movements while communicating. A high percentage makes it imperative that you are aware of the way you look when communicating.  For example, you can say that you forgive someone while they are apologizing, but if you have your arms crossed over your chest, this puts up a barrier between you and the other person. Their brain will not accept your forgiveness because it doesn’t look like you are open to their apology.

The Helen O'Grady Drama Academy puts much emphasis on the positive way in which we use our bodies to communicate.

38% of messages are processed based on your tone of voice. How you say something is more important that what you are actually saying.  While communicating with someone, if your voice is not expressive of the emotion you are trying to convey, the meaning behind your words will be lost.  Take the forgiveness scenario, if your tone of voice expresses a lack of enthusiasm when accepting the apology, the meaning will get lost.  You must sound forgiving and understanding if that is what you want the other person to feel.

This is why in the Helen O'Grady Drama Academy we place more emphasis on the way we say things, such as expression and tone, than the words themselves.

Only 7% of your received meaning will be based off the words you are saying. This low percentage means that saying the words “I forgive you” means little when your tone and body language do not reflect forgiveness. 

Speech work is an essential aspect of the Academy to enhance overall confidence in verbal communication.

For more information about what we do in our classes, please click classes section on this website. In this photo you can see International Mime artist, Markus Schmid who has been working with the children from Cape Town branch of the Helen O'Grady Drama Academy in South Africa.  Markus trained in the the Marcel Marceau Mime School in Paris.


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"Thank you for giving our children the opportunity to participate in the drama programme. It is refreshing to see the limitations taken off our children and to see them express themselves freely."

- Cape Town Parent, South Africa