We are the market leaders in staging and were first to develop portable staging kits back in the 1960’s. Since then, thousands of amazing performances have taken place together with proud audiences full of beaming parents and teachers. There are now fantastic drama opportunities for early years, primary, secondary and higher education students to perform and Stage Systems will always be there to assist and consult to help this happen.
We recognise that performing on stage in early years education helps in a number of areas including:
– Improving physical development
– Expressive arts
– Personal development
In the Government’s National Curriculum, it state that pupils “should have opportunities to improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences, as well as to rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to drama and theatre performances.” Therefore, including performing arts in a young person’s school curriculum is also seen as beneficial by the UK’s education leaders.
So we decided to find out exactly what it’s like to perform on the big stage as a youngster. To playing parts in West End theatre productions to portraying a best-loved character in a TV show. No matter how much experience performers of today have, they had to start somewhere!
We spoke to Tony Maudsley, who you may recognise as playing Kenneth the hairdresser in ‘Benidorm’ or as Edna in the 2016 tour of ‘Hairspray’. Here’s what he had to say about how performing as a young person has helped to progress his acting career throughout the years.
“Performing as a youngster made my world a bigger place. It made me think more and expand my mind so that I could breathe in my surroundings and bank every little thing that I saw and heard, enabling me to amass a huge treasure chest of everything that wasn’t just me, to use when I needed to tell stories that weren’t just mine.”
Abby Wain is an actress who has also had plenty of experience of performing as a young person. She has been performing in the recent production of ‘Alice In Wonderland’ as Alice at our local Derby Theatre. Here’s what Abby had to say when we asked her how performing has helped her to grow as a person.
“I lacked confidence growing up. I was easily frightened too. If I told younger Me that in the future I’d be performing to hundreds of people a night, maybe even sometimes hanging upside down on silk! I’d never believe me. ‘How on earth would I do that? I’d be taking a risk.” Well, that’s what I did. I decided to be brave. I joined a drama class, which gave me the confidence not only to speak to people, but also to make them feel. All it took was one little feeling of fearlessness to get me to where I am today.”
We also had a chat with Cara Dudgeon. You may have seen her in the children’s television series ‘Bernard’s Watch’ aged 10 or in the brilliant UK theatre production of ‘Somewhere In Time’. Cara shares her story of how she went from performing at 6 years old to where she is now and how acting has helped her in many ways.
“I’ve performed from a young age, and knew at about 6 years old that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life! About 8 years later, I was in the Children’s Choir of Bill Kenwright’s touring production of ‘Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat’. I remember The Narrator stood right infront of me at one point in the show while she was singing her solo, and the bright lights were shining down at her. I tried to imagine so hard that she wasn’t there and I was the Leading Lady, and vowed that one day, I would be! In between these two memories, I was a member of The Television Workshop in Nottingham. Attending The Workshop and working on a real life film set, I learnt so many life lessons; having self-discipline, confidence to talk to older people and people I didn’t know, learning information and retaining it, following instructions and direction, and making friends with children, who perhaps, my social circle may not have included before. I owe my determination and ability to focus to acting, as well as empathizing with others, and seeing situations from different points of view. I consider myself very lucky to be doing a job I have always loved.”
Richard Carson, from Leicestershire, is currently playing the leading role of Sky in the West End production of ‘Mamma Mia’. He has also been previously cast as Flyero in the original tour of ‘Wicked’. Although he still has many years ahead of him as a young actor, Richard began performing when he was just 16.
“So I didn’t start performing until I was 16, and it happened completely through luck. The year before I was roped into doing the follow spot for the school production of ‘The Hired Man’ and I saw how much fun they were having doing what they do, so I gave it a shot, and was cast in ‘High School Musical’ the following year. Thankfully I auditioned for Mountview Academy and was accepted on my first try, and I haven’t looked back. Since then I have been lucky enough to perform lead roles on much bigger stages, such as Wicked, Miss Saigon and Mamma Mia! If there’s one thing I’d say to anyone who was in my position all those years back, I’d say keep smiling and keep going. There’s so many setbacks in this world but we, as performers, yearn for the moments when we are allowed to move forward. Moments like being offered a role or being accepted to a course. And before you know it you could be on a west end stage performing to thousands of people each night!”
You may recognise Hayley Tamaddon from soaps including ‘Emmerdale’ and ‘Coronation Street’ or ‘Dancing On Ice’. She has also performed in a plethora of stage roles including the UK tour of Chicago. As an experienced actress, we decided to ask her a few questions about how performing has helped her develop into the person she is today.
Has acting and performing on stage helped you to become more of a confident person?
“Yes it has.. although I still have my moments like most people! But I love to act and perform so much – when I’m up there on stage, or in front of a camera, it gives me the best feeling!”
Has performing helped you in other areas?
“I guess so.. I’m a real people’s person.. I love talking to people and sorting out their problems. I’m a fixer! I’ve lived and breathed acting my whole life.. it’s all I know!”
If you could give young performers today one piece of advice what would it be?
“Never stop learning. Read books by casting directors. Go to classes. Have a thick skin. Get a good agent who will be honest with you. And never give up on your dreams.”
Dominic Rye’s most recent role was as the Mad Hatter in Derby Theatre’s production of ‘Alice In Wonderland’ alongside Abby Wain. He shared with us his memories of his first performance and what this meant to him.
“I remember my first time on stage as a teenager playing one of Shakespeare’s clown roles. The first taste of getting a laugh is an exhilarating experience, it inspired me to pursue the art and skill of performance. To be able to elicit emotions in an audience requires empathy, understanding, timing and many other skills which are extremely useful in day to day life. There is a degree of confidence that comes from being able to raise a smile in another human, and what people remember most about someone is how he or she made them feel.”
Another actor who started performing at a young age of just 5 years old is Joseph Prouse. He is currently starring in the UK show of ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’. We asked him about his acting career up until today.
“I have always been interested in the theatre. Even from as young as Five years old my parents would take me down to my local theatre, which was The Theatre Royal Plymouth. Even though I sang from a very young age it wasn’t until 10 when I decided I wanted to dance, sing and act. Through the lessons and productions it was a fantastic way to gain confidence, discipline and be able to interact with other kids. The confidence is gained through discipline, which you need to practice as much as you can. You are not going to become a master of anything without working on it. It also teaches you that competition is healthy and that you want to be the best. Even if you are not working in the Theatre industry, it still teaches you to work hard and you will achieve great things. I have met some truly wonderful and inspirational people and and I am continuing to do so. I am also constantly learning new things everyday, even now. This is a good thing. I’ve always said the day that I think I know everything is the day to give it up. And now I am playing Donnie Kirshner in ‘Beautiful The Carole King Musical’ at the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End. I’m still continuing to use all the stuff I learnt from a young age to this present day and without my training from a young age this wouldn’t happen.”
So after delving into the past acting careers of celebrities and performers of today, it is clear that taking to the stage as a young person has helped them to develop in many aspects. The main areas include confidence, communicating with others and simply continuing to be passionate about what they do!
If you are interested in providing young people with a space to express their creativity and perform, take a look at our staging solutions. Or give us a call! On 01509 611021.