I made my stage debut tonight. I have been at fever pitch all week with late night rehearsals and costume anticipation. I’m performing in the stage version of Grease at the Alban Arena theatre, and I am beyond excited. I have a ‘circle skirt’ which I’ve been telling people about for days, a boiler suit for Greased Lightning, and an actual prom dress. I’m on a stage – not a raised box in the school hall, a real stage, in a real theatre for the first time in my life!
I love the thrill of performing – always have, ever since my first living room singer/dancer/model/actress routine for my parents at the age of 3. But it wasn’t always this easy. Those who know me may find it hard to credit, but there was a time when I would always be at the back of the queue. I wanted in, I might even get to the toy box first, but I’d always be last to choose, standing back unsure while other kids grabbed the best gear.
So what changed? When I was 5, my parents decided to enrol me in Stagecoach performing arts classes. They figured I was a prima donna at home, so it might come naturally, and if nothing else it would build my confidence to stand up for myself, go out and get what I wanted, believe I was capable of the things I wanted to do. Boy did it work!
I love my Stagecoach classes. It’s the one thing I would never give up. I do a mean American accent, sing a lot of the time (to the irritation of my brother, but hey, that’s a bonus, right?) and I can finally master an entire dance routine without nervously chewing my lip. But my parents were right. The real value in those weekly sessions has been in building confidence. The confidence to know that I can do it, to overcome frustrations when it seems as if I can’t, and to take the chances, even if I fail.
Building confidence in kids
I auditioned for a part at our main theatre once before, but didn’t get in. I was terribly disappointed. My best friends got a part, but I didn’t. The weekend the note arrived was a huge low point. My Mum said she had never seen me more solidly upset. But I picked myself up, gave my friends a smile of congratulations, and auditioned again when the next production came around. My Mum said she had never been more proud. Until tonight.
So, how do Stagecoach help with developing this kind of resilience? My parents went along to the St Albans Stagecoach classes to find out exactly what happens in a normal lesson. Be warned, the following video features my Dad, kind of… erm, dancing?
That boy at the end of that video? That’s my brother, that is. He’s the one who wouldn’t take part in his first few classes. He spent the whole of his first end of term Stagecoach show sat on my Mum’s feet, refusing to stand up in front of an audience of parents. He’s the one who now makes everyone laugh at his karate class, and has recently decided he’s man enough to play football.
Now that’s building confidence in kids!
Mum and Dad were invite to attend ‘Parents do Stagecoach’ with 20 other parents, which was run by the Stagecoach St Albans school as part of an initiative to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
I performed tonight in Grease, by Rare Productions – a group which gives young people the chance to perform in a professionally produced stage show.
Helen says: for my best photo this week I experimented a little with black and white. I’ve also changed how I use the light. I’ve always assumed that light shining on the face is good – the glare if you point the lens towards the sun can’t be good, surely? But a tip from our friend, St Albans children’s photographer Stephanie Belton (check out her use of light in these gorgeous images) recently made me realise that light on the face is very harsh – much more flattering with the light behind, highlighting GG’s hair.
I deleted about 25 shots before I managed to get this one to work with – thank goodness for digital cameras!
I’m also linking to Love All Blogs Better Photo Project, Snowing Indoors Point and Shoot linky, The View From Right Here’s Weekly Top Shot, One Dad 3 Girls My Sunday Photo, PODcast’s What’s the Story, The Oliver’s Madhouse Magic Moments, and Pinkoddy’s Motivational Monday.