While conversing with a group of actors at Dynamo, the question was why the teachers of performing arts at the various Universities around Uganda were never part of art projects, performances, and productions. I did ask myself the same questions many years ago when I was at the then Department of MDD at Makerere University. I never got the answer until I got to the position when I started producing plays, films, and other projects and working with artists.
In class, teachers are gods, they know all you need to know to make it
The truth is teachers in any field have a lot of knowledge on that subject matter, in fact, they are consulted by governments, embassies, and big organizations like the UN because they are authorities in their field, at least theoretically. In fact, they know too much because they have researched, written, and published articles and papers in their own countries and abroad. Some of them are celebrated by the biggest stars we know in the industry as having made them what they are. But the real question is that if they are really good, why are they not the best and most popular Theatre Artists, Dancers, Musicians, or owners of performance groups and companies?
Everyone has ambitions and goals
The biggest reason for not seeing teachers of music, dance, and drama in the mainstream as star performers or topping the charts is simple, their ambitions are aligned elsewhere. Whereas there are people that join the performing arts to become famous and make money to become rich, most teachers are passionate about sharing and passing information down to a generation younger than themselves, to future teachers and geniuses. In fact, some of them never even perform except when it is really a requirement for things to move.
Their ambitions may also be to contribute to the industry through research and publication. If you are reading the article, then you already know the power of written words. Some other teachers just don’t admire being known, popular, or even rich, they just want to have a beautiful happy family or simply work till they can’t work anymore.
Some of them were never really talented, but they got the first class
I am sure that if you went to University, you already know that most Universities recruit teachers based on grades and not on talent ability. This means that most of the teachers of music, dance, and drama are actually academic giants and not necessarily gifted and that should explain why they really never make it to the mainstream. Do you see how you don’t have to be the best lawyer to become a judge? Well, you don’t have to be the best dancer to teach dance.
The entertainment industry is not easy, it is not for everyone.
This industry is not for the faint-hearted, it is a cut-throat industry where the unfit don’t just fail to survive, they die. To be part of the industry, you have to be brave, a risk taker and have a lot of self-belief which many people lack. Yes, our teachers are good but they may actually be cowards.
This article comes as a response to those that they may be asking themselves why the teachers of film studies are not the best film directors. It is not an attack on teachers but the truth that people need to know to stop misunderstanding teachers in Drama departments and also poor economics teachers.
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