For many, the chance to offer their children high quality performance lessons is out of reach, but the Newport Pagnell School of Performing Arts is looking to change that. Kathryn Townsend reports.
Growing up, I wasn’t a huge fan of being the centre of attention… wait, currently still not a fan.
I didn’t enjoy the lessons at school that involved speaking out, acting or basically anything that was performance related.
This lack of confidence is something that has followed me right the way through my life, even to this day.
So now as an adult reflecting on this I can definitely see benefits of getting involved in performance based clubs from an early age to eradicate self-confidence issues, improve social interaction and build a selection of transferable skills that will be invaluable further along the line.
A lot of places offer this locally and further afield but what they don’t offer is a scheme that is affordable to the everyday average Joe.
Inevitably, there are going to be a great deal of children that aren’t fortunate enough to take advantage of the opportunities that surround them.
That is unless, they live in Milton Keynes for instance whereby the Newport Pagnell School of Performing Arts exists.
This school was launched in 2017 by Big Bold Youth, a registered not-for-profit Community Interest Company.
With the aim to provide affordable and accessible drama activities for young people that are fun, engaging and above all rewarding.
This is definitely a step in the right direction to delivering and supporting the needs of a whole community as oppose to a select demographic.
As stated by the Company Director James Smith, “For us, our core values are creating affordable and accessible drama activities for young people that are safe and taught by professionals.
He continues, “All of our teachers are professional actors with an enhanced DBS, they are trained in child protection, special educational needs and first aid.”
Having somewhere like this to go that isn’t going to break the bank is vital in securing local children with the tools they need.
Not only does it develop their social and emotional needs, it also helps them to understand and benefit from building positive relationships with people around them.
It’s also a great way to get creative and make use of their active imaginations in a safe and secure environment.
“Our students get not only the opportunity to gain skills in acting, but also confidence, coordination, listening and communication,” says James.
“We regularly receive casting notices for up and coming television, film and theatre shows and always keep students in mind for these projects, he continues.”
Despite the school only just entering its second year the feedback so far has been incredibly positive with parents and students alike praising the teaching levels and the overall atmosphere.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “Lots of fun and excellent teaching” – Michelle, Parent
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “Fun, full of energy. A really great way for my son to interact and feel part of a team.” – Helen, Parent
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “Fun and enjoyable with a great atmosphere, and good acting techniques.” – Freya, Student
Due to such a positive response the school has already been able to extend classes by adding an additional two every Tuesday.
So if you have any children, who are bursting with energy and keen to explore the world of performance or even children that need additional support where confidence is concerned then this could be the place for you.
There are three separate age groups to which students are divided.
First are The Young Ones, which is aimed at six to ten year olds and classes are held on both Tuesdays and Thursdays between 6pm and 7pm.
This is followed by the Middle Ones for children between ten and fourteen and takes place from 7pm until 8.20pm every Thursday.
Finally, The Older Ones is for children fourteen to eighteen and held on a Tuesday evening from 7.15pm until 8.55pm.
“Our weekly drama classes’ start at just £4.99 per session says James, and we offer free trials for all new students.”
“Our holiday workshops run throughout the year during half term, Easter and summer breaks. Lasting 3.5 hours, our workshops cost just £17.49,” he concludes.