Even though Michele Partridge sold her successful acting school in Surrey a few years ago, she never completely left the business, and now she's back with a new set of offerings for creative kids and teens.
She decided to sell Kids Only Acting Classes when her own daughters were young and the demands of running the business became too much, she said. But she has kept her hand in it with occasional classes and playwriting at her kids' school. The Drama Class really grew out of Partridge's own kids' desire to take up acting more seriously, she said.
"My 11-year-old and my eight-year-old are completely beside themselves," she said. "They're so excited because their friends are taking it too."
She warned it wasn't just a play date. "I told them I would kick them out" if they weren't serious students, Partridge added with a laugh. And she means it, too, even though Olivia, 11, and Eve, 8, are also serving as her assistants.
"It's not fair to me and it's not fair to the other students. I wouldn't let anybody not treat it seriously because everybody's here to learn."
This is what makes Partridge's approach so different and so successful. When Olivia said she wanted to pursue acting, Partridge looked around for classes, but couldn't find the kind of approach she was looking for.
"They're not teaching the fundamentals of what it means to be an actor, what the actor's tools are, what improvisation is - you know, all those really core things of what the craft is and it's just sort of playing. There is an art to it," Partridge said, "and it is a craft.
"The tools of the actor are you: it would be your voice and your mouth and your tongue and your projection and your creativity, imagination. All of that has to be constantly in tune, tuned up, all of the time. That's something that has to be worked on and a lot of places don't really go into that."
The Drama Class starts with those basics and students learn characterization, character development, voice work and other aspects of acting. Plus, they learn public speaking skills, teamwork and, as a result, students' self-confidence blossoms too.
In fact, Partridge, who has been teaching for 18 years now, has had numerous former students approach her and thank her with hugs and tell her they remember the lessons and what a difference it has made in their lives. "It's a very rewarding thing to do. I'm so excited to be doing it again."
Classes will begin in January and run for four months at Camp Alexandra in South Surrey. The Kids Drama Class, for ages seven to nine is full, but there are still spots open in the tweens (ages 10 to 12) and teens (ages 13 to 16) classes, all of which begin the week of Jan. 14 and run to May.
"It's wonderful to see them in the beginning," said Partridge. "After four months, it's amazing the changes that happen in that time period. They understand and they become more confident and they want to do more and their minds open up and it's just wonderful. Really, I wish every child could take drama of some kind."
For more information as well as to sign up, see www.thedramaclass.com. email@example.com
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