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Perform: great drama classes for kids

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I am the person who would rather have curled up and died than act on stage at school. I hated public speaking. My school drama teacher made it quite clear she thought I was hopeless (and I can’t deny it, I was). I had a stab at acting at university and was so appalling that the play closed before opening night. This is not a joke….

Anyway, we all try not to revisit our own humiliations on our children, don’t we, and so I’d been umming and ahhhing about drama-y classes for a year or so, particularly for my shy middle child who seemed desperately to want to do get involved in school plays and things like that, but still lacks the confidence to put her hand up.

The two biggies are Perform and Stagecoach around these parts, but what clinched it for me with Perform was that it’s resolutely not ‘jazz hands’. Whereas Stagecoach will gleefully tell you how many kids it’s managed to plant on the West End stage, Perform does the opposite – it’s not important to them whether the children go on to act or sing professionally (though I’m guessing it has good results too). Their priority is that the children gain confidence, and I like that idea a lot. The owner  of Perform, Lucy has a very good non-preachy blog on the website, where she puts ideas about confidence for kids, how to help them at different stages, her reaction to news or governmental changes in terms of children, and you just get the feeling that she really putting kids’ wellbeing at the centre of the Perform world.

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And so it came to pass that yesterday my children had a trial day. The shy middle child said she was scared on the approach to the room, ignoring all instructions not on any accounts saying anything negative to set off the youngest, who started to cry and say he wanted to stay with me (Grrrrr, ann-oy-ing). I did what any loving, busy, totally sick-of-school-holidays mother would do at that point. Pursed my lips, gripped them a little too firmly on the arm, and shoved them in the room anyway.

One hour later, they both pop out the other end, having been to Outer Space (this term’s theme), desperate to do Perform next week. No question. Failure not an option. That evening I received an email from the tutor telling me what they’d done in class that day, how I could help them learn the songs, or develop the ideas more (phnah!, waaaay too busy, nice lady,  but I appreciate the thought). Basically I’m very impressed with the whole shebang, hence this write up, as I guess you’ll be needing to decide on somewhere quickly to book in for the term.

I can’t vouch for any other competitor’s classes, and I’m sure there are plenty of decent ones around, but if you’re looking for a nurturing class that builds confidence without turning your child into a mini madam, I can definitely recommend Perform on what I’ve seen so far, and with Bucks & Oxon popular areas for the company, you’re likely to find one close to you. Let me know how you get on if you decide to give it a go for your kids.

www.perform.org.uk

 

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