So what makes a great summer drama school workshop?
Personally, I think it is a combination of a good script, a mixed age group, a performance in a real theatre and eight hours a day of singing, dancing and drama. Add to that an opportunity to make new friends, who they get to hang out with all day and the much anticipated after show party and you can quickly see why it’s a real calendar must for kids who love the performing arts.
Our workshops at Blag in Rickmansworth are for kids from 8 years old up to 16 years, many of them repeatedly take part in our summer holiday workshop and some have never missed a single one! Summer holiday workshop’s can guarantee new friendships that can last long past their university years. The Performing Arts give kids a chance to explore new skills and make discoveries about who they are, and workshops are a safe environment in which children can grow and learn interaction skills that help them both at home and at school.
An element at Blag’s Summer school in Rickmansworth is the ‘tuck Shop’, seeing the younger ones in charge of their daily budget is a real pleasure and for some children it is the first time they have had to deal with money. The genuine excitement of a shiny pound coin and the allure of penny sweets can be the highlight of their day.
Holiday workshops are not just confined to theatre skills and singing, dancing and drama, oh no there are schools that run exciting TV and film courses, Stage combat, technical theatre and circus skills, there are even residential courses for kids.
At Blag Youth theatre we have always concentrated on theatre, our two weeks is all singing, all dancing and all acting. Our aim has been to emulate a professional production from casting to performance. Basically, we put on a show in just two weeks.
Our ‘Lets see what you can do day’ is a month prior to the first day and gives us a chance to see who we have and exactly what they can do. Our scripts are especially written and all children get a speaking part. The first day is the first time they discover which part they will be playing then its non stop for 8 hours a day to set scenes, songs and dances, learn their words and develop their characters. From the littlest to the biggest they submerge themselves in the thrills and spills of showbusiness. At 6pm they leave buzzing with tales of their days achievements with plans to learn songs and fine tune routines till night falls and they crawl happily into bed where they sleep soundly with songs dancing around their heads.
I am always amazed by their stamina and by my staff, who chat long into the evening about tomorrow’s schedule and the remaining work to be done to ensure a show that will entertain family and friends. We are fortunate to have some staff who have experienced the summer project first hand so they are keen to make sure the new generation take away the same sort of memories that they have taken into adult life.
As I write this article my staff are on their final week and for the first time in sixteen years I am not on the job. Seeing their first run yesterday prompted me to share this experience with others. It was a fantastic afternoon and seeing all their hard work come together was like a trip to the magic kingdom. The eager sea of faces belting out songs and sharing for the first time their amazing achievements and all in just two weeks. With only three days left to perfect their singing, dancing and acting before they enter the wonderful world of theatre.
The show, as always, will be performed at The Elgiva theatre in Chesham; a perfect theatre managed by the lovely Mark Barnes and his team. They will ensure that our kids have a super experience whilst our technical team will work enthusiastically to build sets, light the stage and keep tabs on the sound. The dance routines, the songs sung with gusto and the acting will be met with rapturous applause as the final curtain drops.
And so as we say goodbye for another year they will leave with happy memories lasting long after the summer has faded.
There are still a few workshops available throughout the country and it’s not too late to sign up to your local drama school. We have a dedicated list of drama schools running workshops to help you find one near you.
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