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How to Choose the Right Stage School for your Child

11/18/2013 5:06:21 PM | by Chris Taylor

Arts Groups: Drama

If your child dreams of playing the lead part in a West End musical or becoming the next chart-topper, who are you to tell them they can't do exactly that? Choose your child a good stage school for them to attend on the side of their regular studies and see how they get on.


The UK has hundreds of stage schools to choose from, such as the ever popular Stagecoach, although not all can be considered equal. Many are just there to ensure that a local area has some form of performing arts offering. Others pride themselves on being able to offer trained teachers, a welcoming atmosphere and top class facilities for the children looking to unleash their inner-performer after school.


How do you know which are most likely to help your superstar in their quest to reach the big screen or stage? You don't attend the classes yourself, so is there any real way of sorting the wheat from the chaff? Take advantage of everything at your disposal before organising a chat with a representative. Websites, leaflets, recommendations from other parents - most information can be garnered through these sources.


Productions


An easy one to start with, search through the school's website or brochure to learn of their most recent success stories. Productions like 'Cats' and 'West Side Story' have remained popular favourites for decades, mainly because performers of all ages can enjoy them! Try not to look too much into your child's taste in music when deciding which kinds of productions they'd be best in, though. You'll be surprised at how receptive they'll be to singing and dancing along to swing classics when the teachers hand them a part, which leads us onto our next point...


Good tuition


Now, you can only work out the quality of the teaching on offer by getting recommendations from other parents. So if your child says their friend is currently at a stage school and you know the parent, try asking the adult how their kid is finding the tuition. Perhaps try meeting one of the teachers at their school before you sign up. You're looking for someone enthusiastic, personable and passionate about what they do. These are the types of people that will get the most out of your child.


Familiar faces


It's likely that your child isn't at the stage where they have to make difficult decisions in order to further their career in the arts. Besides, we're talking about schools that can be attended after school - this isn't a full-time commitment quite yet. If you can, find a place that your child knows through their other friends. This will help them in the first few lessons as they'll find it much easier to perform when they've got a familiar face by their side. The last thing you want is for them to worry about not knowing anyone in their class, so do follow the crowd to an extent.


Suitable age groups


Your child might also get intimidated by attending classes with much older and experienced performers. The problem is that most schools need to have a good mix of children and teenagers in order to find the most suitable people for their parts. Try and find schools that split the children into age groups in order to give them a chance to learn with people similar to them. Then, when it comes to dress rehearsals, the older performers should be encouraged to look after the little ones.


Prospects


It's also important of course to think about the future. When looking for a stage school, take a look back at the establishment's past greats people who went on to dominate in other areas of the industry. There are many professional actors who started out in small schools before moving on to larger academies and professional institutions and finally the great West End.

 

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