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Should I let my child attend stage school

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Some children have a natural talent for performing, and may know from an early age that they want to work as an actor, dancer, singer, or other type of performer. For those who are exceptionally talented and devoted, attending stage school may seem to be the perfect step into their chosen profession. If this is something you are considering with your child, then take a moment to read the following advice, designed to help you make an informed choice about your child’s future:

Strength of Character

The decision to let your child attend stage school immediately places them in an environment where they are inviting public attention, and that interest will not always be positive. Perceptions of talented kids vary – the very concept of stage school can either conjure up images of precocious little kids strutting their stuff with alarming confidence, or charmingly talented little ones sharing their love of performing with anyone who’s interested. It can be a cruel profession, and a thick skin, self-belief and determination are essential. Your child will need to accept from an early age that criticism goes with the territory.

A Healthy Dose of Realism

The field of performing arts is notoriously competitive. Only a very small percentage makes it to the top and are able to find regular work that pays well. Realism and optimism are traits that your child will need in abundance if they are to stand any chance of achieving their dreams. In the meantime, it is important that guide your child, and ensure they appreciate just how difficult it is to make it into the profession, and that this is not necessarily a reflection of their ability. It is a fickle business, and a lot may depend on simply being in the right place at the right time – the proverbial ‘lucky break’.

With this realism in mind, it is vital to ensure that your child has adequate back-up qualifications, and a workplace Plan B. Many performers supplement their meagre incomes with full or part-time work elsewhere. Getting a good education alongside developing their talents will help ensure you child is in the best possible place to succeed in life when they leave stage school.

Getting In

should my child attend stage schoolIf you and your child are determined to secure a place at stage or drama school, you may find that experience is a prerequisite. This can be obtained by joining local theatre, dance, or music groups. As well as demonstrating the dedication that is required, it has the additional benefit of allowing your child to sample a little of the life of a performer before committing to structure their entire education around it.

Benefits of Stage School

Going to stage school is not the only way to break into the profession. Many of the most celebrated performers followed a standard educational path, and still succeeded. However, attending stage school does have its advantages, as follows:

• Contacts – you child will have more opportunities to showcase their talents to the key players in the business
• NCDT Training – the National Council for Drama Training awards accreditation to certain stage schools. It is an indication of expert tuition, and in many cases can lead to automatic membership of Equity, the UK actors guild, that entitles actors to work immediately
• Recognised ability – 86% of working actors were found by an Institute of Manpower Studies to have professional training. Competing against these people without formal training will clearly limit your child’s chances of success

Get the Right Course

Vocational training is very different from academic study of the performing arts. Before enrolling your child at any school, or on any training course, be sure to understand exactly what the benefits are, and whether they meet your expectations. An alternative to stage school is to allow your child to continue in mainstream education until the age of 16 or 18, and then enrol on a dedicated further or higher education course.

Once you and your child have considered all of the above, you may still feel that attending stage school is the right choice. Eyes-wide-open is the very best approach to the business, and if the desire remains to let your child follow their dreams, then go for it and help them to reach for the stars.

 

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About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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