Building confidence in kids: from fear to ambition! Project 365 #05

Building kids confidence at Stagecoach performing arts classes

I made my stage debut tonight. I have been at fever pitch all week with late night rehearsals and costume anticipation. I’m performing in the stage version of Grease at the Alban Arena theatre, and I am beyond excited. I have a ‘circle skirt’ which I’ve been telling people about for days, a boiler  suit for Greased Lightning, and an actual prom dress. I’m on a stage – not a raised box in the school hall, a real stage, in a real theatre for the first time in my life!

I love the thrill of performing – always have, ever since my first living room singer/dancer/model/actress routine for my parents at the age of 3. But it wasn’t always this easy. Those who know me may find it hard to credit, but there was a time when I would always be at the back of the queue. I wanted in, I might even get to the toy box first, but I’d always be last to choose, standing back unsure while other kids grabbed the best gear.

So what changed? When I was 5, my parents decided to enrol me in Stagecoach performing arts classes. They figured I was a prima donna at home, so it might come naturally, and if nothing else it would build my confidence to stand up for myself, go out and get what I wanted, believe I was capable of the things I wanted to do. Boy did it work!

I love my Stagecoach classes. It’s the one thing I would never give up. I do a mean American accent, sing a lot of the time (to the irritation of my brother, but hey, that’s a bonus, right?) and I can finally master an entire dance routine without nervously chewing my lip. But my parents were right. The real value in those weekly sessions has been in building confidence. The confidence to know that I can do it, to overcome frustrations when it seems as if I can’t, and to take the chances, even if I fail.

Building confidence in kids

I auditioned for a part at our main theatre once before, but didn’t get in. I was terribly disappointed. My best friends got a part, but I didn’t. The weekend the note arrived was a huge low point. My Mum said she had never seen me more solidly upset. But I picked myself up, gave my friends a smile of congratulations, and auditioned again when the next production came around. My Mum said she had never been more proud. Until tonight.

building confidence

So, how do Stagecoach help with developing this kind of resilience? My parents went along to the St Albans Stagecoach classes to find out exactly what happens in a normal lesson. Be warned, the following video features my Dad, kind of… erm, dancing?

That boy at the end of that video? That’s my brother, that is. He’s the one who wouldn’t take part in his first few classes. He spent the whole of his first end of term Stagecoach show sat on my Mum’s feet, refusing to stand up in front of an audience of parents. He’s the one who now makes everyone laugh at his karate class, and has recently decided he’s man enough to play football.

Now that’s building confidence in kids!

Mum and Dad were invite to attend ‘Parents do Stagecoach’ with 20 other parents, which was run by the Stagecoach St Albans school as part of an initiative to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

I performed tonight in Grease, by Rare Productions – a group which gives young people the chance to perform in a professionally produced stage show.

Helen says: for my best photo this week I experimented a little with black and white. I’ve also changed how I use the light. I’ve always assumed that light shining on the face is good – the glare if you point the lens towards the sun can’t be good, surely? But a tip from our friend, St Albans children’s photographer Stephanie Belton (check out her use of light in these gorgeous images) recently made me realise that light on the face is very harsh – much more flattering with the light behind, highlighting GG’s hair.

I deleted about 25 shots before I managed to get this one to work with – thank goodness for digital cameras!

I’m also linking to Love All Blogs Better Photo Project, Snowing Indoors Point and Shoot linky, The View From Right Here’s Weekly Top Shot, One Dad 3 Girls My Sunday Photo, PODcast’s What’s the Story, The Oliver’s Madhouse Magic Moments, and Pinkoddy’s Motivational Monday.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky


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48 thoughts on “Building confidence in kids: from fear to ambition! Project 365 #05”

  1. As the mum of a 16-year-old boy I refer to as Drama Teen I agree wholeheartedly that the real benefit of drama lessons is the confidence building which applies to all aspects of life not just the stage. (getting a starring role and nailing it is a very pleasant bonus. Well done)

  2. I have heard so many wonderful things about stagecoach. A great confidence builder. Love the video with you all featuring. Great family stuff!

  3. That top photo is absolutely brilliant. What a proud moment for GG and mummy!
    I always did drama as a kid – I was good at the acting, terrible at the singing and dancing, and hoped one of my kids would do it too so I could relive those glory days, but it hasn’t happened. My daughter dances though and I couldn’t be more proud of her. She is so confident dancing on a stage in front of people.

  4. A great post and so good to see how your confidence grew! My wee man is also a bit on the quieter side at the moment unless he is really comfortable in the situation and with the people. That photo you mum captured is really lovely. The lighting is really perfect and you look so natural and happy which makes it even more special.

  5. Drama is so important for children, it did wonders for my confidence as a teen. M has been going to a drama group here for a few months now, it’s about so much more than acting, it’s skills for life. Love the shots and that top shot says it all, she looks so happy and beautiful x

  6. A wonderful post. Building confidence in our children is so important and for you and your husband to participate along with the ‘GG’ is just fabulous, not many parents have the confidence the two of you do. Bravo.

  7. Beautiful photos, I’d never thought about drama as a class for the girls…I think they’d love it

    Thank you for linking up

    • Stagecoach will do you a taster session so they can get a feel for it, before you decide whether or not to join up. Honestly it’s one of the best things we do.

  8. Lovely photo of her singing her heart out at the top (that is what she’s doing, isn’t it?).

    Thanks for linking up to Project 365.

  9. Flea started Stagecoach at 5, doing mini stages. As a child who’s sometimes overlooked in school because she is quiet and laid back, Stagecoach gives her a place where she can see it’s good to be quirky and funny, and she gets a chance to shine – I’m pretty sure she’s never going to be picked for a school performance, because teachers do tend to have set ideas about who they pick for that stuff.

    Recently, the Stagecoach Flea went to closed, and we spent a term at a school a little further away – it was a big commitment as it’s a 3 hour class starting at 10am, so no Saturday night sleepovers with school friends, but when we stopped going for a few weeks, it was Flea who made the decision that, no, she wanted to go back to Stagecoach.

    Honestly, it’s done wonders for her confidence, her ability to speak out in front of people she doesn’t know. If she never gets on a stage, I wouldn’t mind a bit, because I know how much she gains from it in other ways, not to mention the fun she has. I also think – like cubs – it’s good for kids to mix and make friends outside the classroom, so that if they fall out with someone at school they have other friendship circles to support them.

    • Definitely Sally! That’s one thing I forgot to mention – it’s been so important at times for her to realise that she can make freinds away from school, and that different sets of friends like different things about her. We found it a challenge when we first moved to the 3 hour class – she would get tired and fed up with the sections she wasn’t so good at, but over time she’s come back into her own and is loving it again. So glad Flea gets a lot out of it too.

  10. What a brilliant post Helen. Love that photo of GG and how awesome she was in an actual production. You must have been so proud! Stagecoach sounds brilliant and the video is great – Bug is highly entertaining. Thanks for sharing with #whatsthestory

  11. You must be so proud. I think it’s great that Stagecoach has helped her come on so much but don’t forget the excellent parenting has played a part too. Thank you for the photography tip.

  12. Fantastic post. I mistakenly thought it was just about budding little actors. It’s so much more than that. Hmmmmm you’ve got me thinking now. Going to put this in my back pocket for a bit till little z is old enough.

  13. What a gorgeous photo GG! My middle child is a real prima donna too and loves her weekly drama classes. She has just auditioned for Hairspray in her Secondary school play and got a part! She is very excited 🙂 I am sure that you will go on to bigger and better things – once you’ve got the bug (that’s the stage bug, not your brother!) then you’re smitten, I think.

  14. Brilliant post and beautiful pictures of your daughter.

    My kids seem to be natural performers and it’s no doubt helped that I’ve filmed them for pro jobs I’ve directed.. I do love that the arts and drama help build their confidence too.

    Oliver (4) recently did a modelling job for a supermarket and watching his confidence grow on the shoot and the fun he had (if he’s not having fun, he doesn’t do it even for me) was wonderful to see. It was the first time I wasn’t directing him too so an interesting experience for this controlling mum too!

    I hope he will start drama classes in a few years too. Passing by from #what’sthestory

  15. Dear GG – I truly hope you will be as fab as I think you will. I won’t say ‘G**d L**k’ as that’s unlucky so as they say in the theatre, ‘Break a Leg’ sweetie and I cannot wait to hear all about this. So excited for you. #magicmoments #whatsthestory

  16. GG I’m not surprised your Mum’s so proud! You look stunning in these photos, and it sounds as though you mastered one the most difficult skills: picking yourself up after disappointment, and going on to succeed despite a setback. Carry on like that and you’re bound to do well in life.

    • That’s the thing I was most proud of Nell – I kept the news from her for a day or two because I wasn’t sure how she would handle it, and my heart broke for her – no yelling and hysterics, just real and prolonged sadness. I’d never seen it before in her, but I was so proud of her for pulling it together and doing a better job the next time!

  17. Really enjoyed your post and agree very much about drama and child-confidence building. We started our daughter at a local drama academy last year and I’m convinced it’s helping her to be more sure of herself. she’s naturally theatrical and we do have professional and amateur dramatists in the family, so it’s not surprising she’s taken to it like a duck to water. I only wish I’d have done something like this myself when I was younger.

    I wish your daughter lots of success – perhaps it will lead to a wonderfully fulfilling and creative career in her adult life, or at the very least fuel a lifelong interest and passion.

  18. It’s great finding out about Stagecoach. After reading your post, I think I should consider it for my daughter when we hopefully move back to UK later this year. I saw her confidence shine when she was in a ballet production before Christmas in the local theatre where we live. The photo is wonderful too – beautiful daughter with a gorgeous happy face.

  19. My 4 year old is a very confident girl, and her play school teacher always comments on that. I can’t pinpoint anything specific we did so far that led to this, so I’m a bit concerned that this might change as she grows older. But I’m really liking the Stagecoaching idea.


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