'Children can learn, grow and thrive in a creative environment': Meet the principal of Stagecoach Performing Arts Cirencester

Inspiring young performers to grow in creativity and confidence, the whole world's a stage at Stagecoach Cirencester — and with a new term of performing arts classes fast approaching, SoGlos chats to principal Anne Pain about what budding stars can look forward to this autumn.

By Annabel Lammas  |  Published
Stagecoach Cirencester
Students from Stagecoach Cirencester recently put on a production of The Wizard of Oz.

Providing a positive place for children to sing, dance and act, Stagecoach Performing Arts in Cirencester is now enrolling for its autumn 2022 term, with weekly classes starting on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 September, running to Friday 9 and Saturday 10 December 2022. 

Talking all things theatre with the school's principal, Anne Pain, SoGlos finds out what students can expect from the new term — and hears all about an exciting West End performance that's in the pipeline, too!

Meet the principal — Anne Pain from Stagecoach Performing Arts Cirencester

Principal Anne Pain, pictured with the Stagecoach Cirencester mascot at The Cotswold Show.

With a lifelong love of performing, degrees in music and education and a qualified teaching status, Anne Pain combines her passion for the performing arts with her skills as an educator as principal of Stagecoach Performing Arts in Cirencester, helping young performers to grow in confidence and creativity.

Stagecoach Cirencester offers weekly classes in drama, dance and singing for four to 18-year-olds in the local area — now enrolling for its autumn 2022 term.

What does an average day look like for your Early Stages students?

Our Early Stages children, who are between four and six-years-old, come in and sit in a circle and we do a register. We then do a lovely ‘Hello Song’ together.

The children then have lots of fun in dance, where they do a warm up and dance routine; singing, warming up and learning songs; and drama, often working on story, theme and characters, with improvisation and games to help them build their skills.

The sessions last for 90 minutes and they have equal amounts of dance, singing and drama each time. 

Children also learn about performance and stagecraft skills and have a break for drink time. We also do passport time — all Early Stages children receive a Stagecoach Early Stages Passport, which tracks their journey through their time in Early Stages. They receive stickers for attendance and other achievements, such as being creative, helping others or putting on a great performance.

At the end of the session, we do a 'Goodbye Song' altogether before they go home.

What do Main Stages students get up to in their classes?

Main Stages is for six to 18-year-olds and their sessions last for three hours. They come in and we do a register altogether as a whole school, and then they split up into their different age groups. Sometimes, they'll all work together to do a warm up at the start of class, after registration. 

Just like the Early Stages, they spend an equal amount of time on drama, dance and singing, doing various warm ups, learning songs and dance routines of all difference genres. We do a lot of improvisation and script work in drama.

The students have two of the disciplines, like drama and dance for example, and then take a break to refuel and chat to their friends. They then have the last discipline, before we all come together at the end before going home.

Each year at Stagecoach consists of a 'demonstration term', where there's a performance to parents at the end of term; a 'skills term', where we focus our time and attention on building those all-important skills; and a 'show term', where we all work together to put on a fabulous show in the theatre. During show term, all the students come together and work as a team to rehearse, despite their age differences.

Can you tell us a bit more about the process of taking LAMDA Acting Exams at Stagecoach Cirencester?

LAMDA is one of the UK’s oldest and most respected awarding bodies. They offer practical examinations in communication and performance where children can achieve grades through their examinations. 

The LAMDA Acting Examinations are for our Main Stages-aged students. If they choose to take a LAMDA Acting Exam, they have eight lessons during the term where they prepare and learn a couple of monologues, ready to perform in front of an examiner towards the end of term.

Our students really enjoy taking the LAMDA examinations!

Early Stages children at Stagecoach Performing Arts Cirencester.

What are the benefits of a performing arts education for children and young people? What kind of life skills do they learn at Stagecoach Cirencester?

There are so many benefits to performing arts education. Performing arts helps to build strong communicators; it expands children's imaginations, helps them to develop their own voice and gives them the confidence to be themselves.

As well as acting, dancing and singing skills and performing skills, there are so many vital and valuable life skills to learn at Stagecoach Cirencester.

Confidence, team-working skills, creativity, empathy and dedication. Our students build lovely friendships and performing arts is so good for their mental health, too.

At Stagecoach Cirencester, we help children to learn, grow and thrive in a creative environment. They can be themselves and learn 'creative courage for life'!

We hear some of your students will be performing in the West End this November. How exciting! Can you tell us a bit more about this?

This is so exciting! Yes, we have a group of 17 students who have successfully auditioned to be part of our Performance Troupe, who are going to be performing at Shaftesbury Theatre in London's West End in November 2022 — representing Stagecoach Cirencester at a national Stagecoach event!

The students will rehearse each Saturday in Cirencester during the autumn term, and then we will go to London together in November and rehearse at Shaftesbury Theatre in the daytime, where we'll have a dress and tech rehearsal before performing in the evening. It's a fabulous opportunity to be able to perform on a West End stage! 

What can new and returning students look forward to in the autumn term?

Next term is very exciting! Our Early Stages children have their show term, and will be working on a lovely Christmas play to perform in costume towards the end of the autumn term.

It's skills term for our Main Stages student, which is going to include a fabulous 'West End workshop' and also some fun Christmassy activities later on in the term. We'll also be revealing what show we'll be working on, ready for the following show term!

We just can't wait to get started!

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