Why I sent my daughter to stage school

I’m sure you would have seen on my grid and stories over the last year or so that Gracie goes to stage school. It was something I have always been quite passionate about. Gracie has always been a confident child. She has been at nursery since she was a year old (link?) and we have seen that confidence change over time.

I look at her sometimes and she’s my double. She if full of confidence. She has sass. She isn’t afraid to share her opinions. She has a good command of the English language. I’m am truly grateful for these things. I think her confidence will do her well when she is older. There came a point where I began to get a little bit worried about her confidence. A bit like me, she doesn’t know when to shut up. She has a knack for saying the wrong things at the wrong time….just like me.

There came a point that I felt she was becoming a little bit cocky; shocking I know, god only knows where she gets that from! I spoke with Mummy Hew and suggested that we enrolled her into the performing arts. My view was that it will enable her to channel her inner sass and turn it into something productive, rather than just be a gobshite like me.

When Gracie turned 3 we looked at the options available. Due to her age she was only able to enroll at a stage school called Theatre Train. Their ‘tinies’ class (age 3/4) was totally free for a half hour session a week. It was a bit of a taster for her and allowed us to see how she got on before we decided to spend hundreds of pounds in the main school.

Don’t get me wrong, Gracie really enjoyed her time at Theatre Train. She loved the singing and dancing and would come home telling us what she learnt. When she turned 4 we had the opportunity to enrol her into the main school. I decided not to. Firstly it isn’t the cheapest hobby to fork out for. Secondly I felt the brand was a little amateur. Now I don’t want to get into slating a small business because I respect the work that they do. But if felt, as I say, a bit amateur. The people where really friendly and Gracie enjoyed it…I just felt for the money we would be paying they could have had more to give. There were things lacking, like organisation and communication with parents. It wasn’t quite the standard we expected.

I had heard of Stage Coach previously. If I’m honest I wish I had the opportunity to go….I think my name would look epic on bright lights on the west end! We enrolled Gracie for her first term at Stage Coach in September….a week after she turned 4! She was the baby of the school, much like at her primary school; she handles it well though!

We opted to have 2 taster sessions, if I recall it was £25 for the two. As soon as we made the first call to the Principal we knew Stage Coach had a very different feel to Theatre Train. The Principal, Tara, had an initial conversation with Mummy Hew. She was extremely welcoming and made us feel like Gracie fitted into the Stage Coach family.

After Gracie’s trial lessons Gracie practically begged us to go back. We enrolled her for the full term and she loved it. She had an end of term show and sang about the Christmas tree.. I couldn’t have been more proud of her.

Gracie was signed up for another term in the new year. It was clear that she enjoyed the classes. Her attitude changed and I could see this sassy 4 year old started to channel her emotions much better…I truly believe it’s due to the skills she learnt at Stage Coach, alongside her school lessons.

We went to see her Easter show. Now I don’t want to sound like a total arse, or god forbid, a pushy parent; I felt disappointed. I’ll expand..Gracie was sent home with her lines for the show and the words to a couple of songs the class were going to sing. She literally LOVED practising them in the evenings and we would sing the songs on the way to school, I was so proud of her. On the morning of the show she was really excited to show us what she had learnt…the reality was totally different to what I expected.

At the show she walked to the stage with her class, dressed as a little pig…my heart melted. When it came to her lines she became closed, she hardly spoke, she wouldn’t stand up and say them. When the class sang the song she disappeared into dream land…and yes, she stood and picked her fucking nose; any parents worse nightmare!

At the end of the show Mummy Hew and I turned to each other and both had the same thought, is this right for Gracie? I’d hate to push her to do something that she didn’t want to do. I felt like she didn’t enjoy herself on stage and I get that she’s only 4 and it’s a daunting experience; I just wanted her to enjoy it.

At the end of the show we spoke to the Principal and expressed how we were feeling. I cannot tell you how amazing and reassuring she was. She told us about how Gracie is in class, how much she enjoys it. She explained that often kids are totally different in the show compared to the class. I guess it’s quite a daunting experience…and there’s Mummy Hew and I gawping, cameras in hand egging her on. I also forget that she is still 4. And whilst she is totally confident and sassy, she still is my little baby.

We will be enrolling Gracie back into Stage Coach next term…I have no doubt about that whatsoever! Part of me has to sit back and recognise that she’s 4, she isn’t a West End superstar (yet) and that she’s having a bloody good time….and that’s all that counts!!

I’m going to share a few snippets from Gracies report from Stage Coach….now I’m not exactly an emotional person but I balled my fucking eyes out when I read it. I felt like such a proud Daddy!

Drama.

‘It has been an absolute pleasure having Gracie in class this term…..she has taken to it like a duck to water…..her confidence is so admirable…..she has a wild imagination and brings a lot or creativity to class….she works hard with other students….I look forward to working with Gracie each week….she has lots of confidence which at her age is usually the one thing they lack’

Dance/movement.

‘She is always focused and hard working….Gracies ability to work with other students particularly shines…..she helps other students who haven’t quite got it…..she clearly enjoys dancing and performing’

Singing.

‘Gracie has done really well to pick up the songs this term….she is enthusiastic about showing me what she remembers….she sings in tune (LOL doesn’t get that from me) and isn’t inhibited by nerves’

Principals comments.

‘….Gracie has obviously found her calling in life and is a perfect fit for Stage Coach’

No! You’re crying!!!

If you are considering enrolling your child into any sort of stage school or the performing arts I would highly recommend it! Feel free to send a message and I’ll happily talk in more detail about our experience!!

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