Hi everyone

I am keen to share a little ‘look behind the scenes’ with you in this blog post and tell you about three things that drive me crazy about running a stage school – the clue was in the title…

You see, over the years, I have found that when I talk to people about StageAbility, our drama classes, our shows or our school holiday workshops, many a time I have been subject to one of the three responses.  

The first time I heard them, it didn’t make me cross [edit: actually, the second one has always made me cross] but over the last 11 years, as each gets repeated, it has started to make me sad and annoyed that there are so many misconceptions about drama classes when these classes do such wonderful things for young people!  

Let’s see if you understand…

#Annoying Comment No. 1″That sounds like my child’s worst nightmare…he’s so shy.”

OK, I can kind of understand this comment, but only if it’s being uttered by someone who has never attended a drama class and has absolutely no understanding of how we work with our students.

FACT:  The majority of children in our classes come for confidence building.  

Because most of our students originally start classes to learn how to become more confident, we are well-practised at welcoming new children.  Even our current students are amazing at welcoming new students because they have all been there.  Our whole purpose is to build a supportive group.  A group of like-minded souls who can fool about and be utterly stupid together, with no fear of anyone poking fun.  It’s only when the students can lose their inhibitions that they can really start to act.  Some of our best actors started as they most shy students.

So, parents I meet who utter “Annoying Comment No. 1”, I say to you, “Are you going to encourage your child to hide in the shadows forever, or are you going to give them an opportunity to learn the skills to overcome their shyness and really blossom?”

Because confidence is a learned skill.  Some of us learn early, some of us learn late.  Some of us forget how to do it and lose our way.  Let’s give our children the tools they need to have a really fulfilled life.

#Annoying Comment No. 2″His Dad wouldn’t like him doing drama…”

What?  His Dad wouldn’t like it???  And let me just say, this isn’t just one Dad.  It’s been said to me so many times.  This comment says so much in so few words.  I can only read between the lines and assume that Dad may think it’s not butch enough for their son.  

FACT:  Attending a drama class will not make your son gay.

There are lots of gay people working in the Arts and long may it be so, but I can assure you that attending a drama class will not make your son gay.  We probably do have children in our classes who are gay and we definitely have children who are camp.  We also have lots of children who are particularly ‘boyish’ and come to class covered in mud after rugby practice.

Drama classes are about understanding the world, understanding characters, being empathetic with different people in different situations and putting yourself in their shoes to act out a character.  The students learn to express themselves and communicate better.  They learn to work as a team and learn how to be a leader.  Who wouldn’t want that for your child.

It makes me sad to think of children growing up in homes where thoughts on how boys and girls should be are so rigid.  I know I can’t change that, but maybe I can send Arnie, The Rock and Vin Diesel around to ‘have a word’ and explain why acting is for everyone.

#Annoying Comment No. 3″I bet you get loads of pushy parents!”


FACT:  Parents of StageAbility students are not pushy.

Why do people think that we have Pushy Parents?  I guess it’s from old stereotypes in comedy films and shows, so perhaps I should be more patient.

But no.  Our parents are the life-blood of our business and they are also the foundation of our students’ support network.  

If anything, I would say that StageAbility parents are respectful, appreciative and understanding and, my word, has that been put to the test during lockdown!  In fact, this would be a perfect time and place to send out a massive thank you for their support and care over the last few months.  Every text, every email and every ‘like’ and ‘love’ on social media has been appreciated.