Something I don’t often mention these days is that in my other life, I used to be an actress. Trained hard at drama school and made a modest income from acting and singing, enough to survive off but not enough for a home in Beverly Hills. I would love to get back in to it at some point but I’d definitely need to work on my confidence, the thought of singing in front of a room full of strangers sets me in to mild panic where as a few years ago, that was a pretty average day. But hey, maybe that’s a blog for another time.
I have however kept teaching drama, singing and dancing for a company called Stagecoach Theatre Arts – in Norwich. I teach 4 – 6 year olds and I love it. An age where they don’t tend to think too much about ‘acting’ they just act! Children tend to naturally be fantastic actors as it’s just playing ‘pretend’ essentially. Every child I teach has a natural ability and it’s not always in the spotlight.
Don’t get me wrong, if I hear an incredible voice or see naturally wonderful dance skills – I’m going to nurture it and technical ability will always be something I encourage. However sometimes I take the most enjoyment out of the small milestones achieved. When a child who hasn’t spoken for a couple of weeks finds the courage to excitedly tell the class her news from the previous week, or the boy who struggles to focus thriving as a natural leader when working as part of a team during drama class.
I have seen confidence grow, friendships grow and creativity flourish each and every week. Of course I feel emotional when I hear one of my students hit every note in a solo song during a performance. Although I also feel the same emotion watching someone stand still in the spotlight, knowing that they have struggled so much just to keep still and focused.
In an age when the X factor and Britain’s got talent encourage people to be stars I encourage everyone in my class regardless of everything, to me they are all stars. They are still so very little, so I say let’s have fun, build talent, make silly faces, put on funny voices, play games and give everyone a voice, they are much cleverer than you may think. I’ve had so much feedback from parents who’s children have grown so much in confidence which has enhanced so many areas of their lives.
When the rewards come each week, in all kinds of ways because no two students are ever the same, how could I not love my job?