THE CURTAINS have opened on Tamworth’s new drama school, The Helen O’Grady Drama Academy.
Director Ben Mettam made the decision to take the plunge after his daughter auditioned for the role of Annie with the Tamworth Musical Society.
“More than 80 girls auditioned for 11 or 12 roles, that was girls, not boys at all so I thought there needs to be something here,” he said.
“I always felt like there was something lacking in Tamworth with four or five dance schools, The Con doing all the music but never any drama.”
Acting and directing in local theatre for the last 20 years, Mr Mettam had practical experience but sought more professional qualifications.
An accountant by day, he undertook the Helen O’Grady curriculum to teach budding actors himself.
“The program isn’t so focused on becoming a star, it’s about empowering students, increasing their energy and enthusiasm,” he said.
“It promotes social and emotional learning and it’s giving them real life skills rather than teaching them to be a star.”
The drama academy is for students aged six to 17, with the first full term starting after the school holidays.
Next year there will be a mid-year showcase with a snapshot of what the students have been working on, with a full end of year performance later on.
Mr Mettam said fun is the key factor.
“I’m in there with them moving around and providing energy, it’s quite exhausting at the end of the hour compared to sitting at a desk but you can really tell you’re making a difference when all the kids leave with a smile on their face,” he said.
Eventually Mr Mettam plans to expand and offer circus classes also.
For more information visit sideshowstudio.com.au.
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