When faced with a naturally introverted or shy child joining a performing arts class might not be an idea that springs to mind.
For many, stage fright is one of their greatest fears. People panic at the thought of speaking in front of people. Left unchecked it can have a huge toll on self-confidence and self-esteem. The great news is confidence like all other skills can be taught.
At Simply Theatre we treat each child as an individual and understand that their starting levels of confidence will vary dramatically. Our courses are designed to provide an environment where every child can grow their confidence at their own pace, regardless of the level or age at which they join us. For example, our students are invited to contribute an idea, they are never forced. Children can observe, follow, copy for as long as they wish. Whilst they are encouraged out of their comfort zone, they are not pushed out and left to flounder.
Our co-founder, Jenna Melling, explains what success looks like to her: “There is a drama game we play with our ‘mini dramas’ (children ages 4-6 years old) as an introduction warm-up called “The sun shines on..”. Students are invited to make a statement such as “The sun shines on anyone wearing blue” and anyone wearing blue stands up and swaps chairs. I remember one teacher being very proud after a class in the fifth week of term when a student made their first contribution to the game - after 5 weeks!” She adds, “This student has gone on to become a very talented performer and an extremely confident individual. But it takes talented staff and patience as well as a controlled environment, to allow each student to grow their confidence at a pace suitable to them.’
Confidence is a journey and unique to an individual. We would consider a Simply Theatre student to be confident when they:
Volunteer opinions and ideas
Are willing to try new things
Are comfortable meeting and working with new people
Are happy to go first or last
The skills developed through theatre not only train us how to deliver a message clearly and accurately, but how to have the confidence to do this comfortably in front of large audiences. Confidence truly is one of the most valuable life skills you can equip a child with.