Stagecoach, is it worth it?

(18 Posts)
serin Wed 28-Aug-13 17:33:20

DS2 age 11 is quite shy, he has struggled with a speech impediment and although this is largely resolved now he is still a little shy about speaking in public. He loves singing though and is confident singing in school.

He has never actually been picked to read at class assemblies and was upset that he was cast in a non speaking role in the school play. I think the teacher probably did this as she recognised his shyness but he is ready to speak up for himself a bit more now!

Stagecoach is in our area but it is so expensive. What goes on there? would he actually get a chance to perform or would he be sat watching all the more outgoing kids shine?

Technoprisoners Wed 28-Aug-13 17:42:07

My 3 dcs have all done Stagecoach. My eldest is the same age as your DS and sounds quite similar with speech issues, and shyness.

I would recommend it, but as it's a franchise, they can vary a lot between areas. You should be offered a trial of at least a couple of sessions before committing for the whole term. Your DS would be in Main Stages, which lasts for 3 hours, with an hour each devoted to singing, dancing and acting skills. They should have specialist teachers for each area. The Stagecoach mine went to always had some sort of end of term performance, or showing of work, in which all were involved. DS1 found it great, as he got a chance to perform and get a bit of the spotlight, which he never got at school as he wasn't one of the more confident kids. If you can afford it, I think it can provide beneficial extra curricular, as performing arts get such a raw deal in primary schools now.

JeanBodel Wed 28-Aug-13 17:43:56

They all perform. Both my kids go and I think it is worth it. But there's no doubt that it is expensive.

Leeds2 Wed 28-Aug-13 18:41:56

I always regretted not sending DD, now 15. Not because I wanted her to act (I don't!), but because the children I know who did go are much more confident than she is at public speaking, speaking up etc which I think is an important skill.

Must admit that I would worry at sending them for the first time at 11, when the other children could potentially have been there for years.

If you can do a trial run for a couple of weeks, it might give your DS a better idea as to whether he would like to join. I think Stagecoach also do holiday camps if that would be of interest.

cory Wed 28-Aug-13 20:34:41

They vary a lot from area to area.

There may also be cheaper youth theatres/drama clubs that do pretty much the same thing.

Dd did her local youth theatre for many years; it was very, very inclusive and though not everybody got a speaking part in every major performance they would all get to perform on stage, and there were also regular showcases where each group put on a smaller play: there they both got to act and to help write their own play.

Dd started at 11 or 12, wasn't a problem at all.

curlew Wed 28-Aug-13 20:39:06

It's a franchise, so it depends vry much on the particular leader. Ours is ghastly- the kids put on loads of shows, but it's all "teeth, tits and tush, darling, teeth,mitts and tush" You need to go and look.

Have you got a local theatre? Lots of them have drama clubs for young people, my ds goes to onenof these, it's cheaper than stagecoach, and I think, better.

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Wed 28-Aug-13 20:53:01

My dcs both go; our franchisee is a tad on the bonkers side, but she's in with the big boss of Stagecoach, so it's been going a long time, and has fab teachers and a good reputation with the local theatres.

Both of mine absolutely love it. DD does dancing and drama elsewhere too, but she enjoys the drama lessons at Stagecoach, which is something she doesn't really get when doing the local panto (which is more about learning song words and routines etc).

DS goes because he is catastrophically un-sporty (I suspect he is mildly dyspraxic) and struggles a bit with social skills, so I thought it might be good for him in terms of making friends outside of school. Unfortunately there is only one other boy in his group, although luckily they do get on well. DS has discovered a love for singing, and was given a main part in the school play at Christmas because of the fact that he was the only 6 year old in the class with sufficient voice projection skills to make himself heard at the back of the hall! He has the odd wobble about the dancing (an hour of dancing after two hours of singing/drama is a bit much for an only just 7 year old who struggles with co-ordination), but the teacher has been really understanding. Ime they are good at treating children as individuals.

All in all, we've had a good experience. I feel very lucky that we can afford to send them, as it's something I would have absolutely loved as a child, but there's no way my parents would have been able to send me. Mind you, the house I grew up in is about three times the size of this one, and in a nicer area, so I guess you make your choices!

serin Wed 28-Aug-13 21:57:23

Oh wow, thank you all very much. The leader has just emailed me back but made no mention of a free trial, just said that they had a place for him and to send a cheque for £50 and pay the remainder of the fees on the first session.

There is also a LIPA (Liverpool Institue of Perfoming Arts) within travelling distance (just) so might also look into that but the fees are similar. We can just about afford this and I am conscious about promising him something that he may have to give up if our circumstances change.

Curlew! that's hilarious.

Marmitelover55 Wed 28-Aug-13 22:51:06

My two DDs are involved in the local panto and have been since aged 5 and 7. It's a really great experience for them, although the rehearsals do take over weekends in the winter months. They have to go every Sunday from 2-5pm from start of October until performances in early January. We have to pay about £20 in total for their refreshments, but thats all. Admittedly though, as younger members of the group, they are limited to singing and dancing in the children's chorus, but this changes when they are secondary age, as they are able to audition fog main parts. Oh might bd worth you seeing if you have something similar local to you.

Biscuitsneeded Wed 28-Aug-13 23:36:23

Our local Stagecoach is, I think, worth the money. They really do make every child feel included and it's not just a place for ghastly pushy mothers and dreadful little moppets with side pony-tails! (There is some of that but there are lots of nice, friendly, normal people too). My DS goes and although i very much doubt he will ever be a performer as a career I have noticed how confident he is as a result. He was asked to introduce his whole Year Group's performance in the school concert, and he was was confident, assured, could be heard at the back of the hall - none of this would have been the case without stagecoach. And it's an opportunity to have a whole other set of friends that aren't school friends. It's not for everyone but I know my DS has got a lot out of it.

prh47bridge Thu 29-Aug-13 00:21:53

As others have said, it is a franchise so it depends on your local franchisee. Your son should get singing, drama and dance classes. My oldest son has been going for a few years and, having been pretty unsure about it at first, now has being an actor as one of his career choices. He has had his first (and so far only) professional engagement through Stagecoach - one of the sewer children in the national tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when it came to our area. He wants more!

I don't suppose there are any theatrical agents on here looking for a 12 year old boy with a fantastic singing voice and good acting and dancing ability...

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 29-Aug-13 08:53:43

My DSis children do Stagecoach and my DD has separate singing lessons and goes to an Italia Conti associates for dance.
In the particular franchise my DSis's children go to no vocal technique has been taught where as my DD's singing teacher emphasises the importance of technique. Does this matter? Well my DN at 9 has nodules on her vocal cords and has been referred to speech therapy and may yet need surgery to correct the problems from straining her voice and using poor technique. My DN was in the national tour of Annie and ENT and speech therapy suspect that this heavy use of her voice without proper training is the cause.

chauffeurmummy Thu 29-Aug-13 15:49:10

I would second looking at what your local theatre offers as well as part of their youth theatre scheme. Ours is brilliant - very inclusive and a lot of fun.

Maryz Thu 29-Aug-13 15:54:04

You need to check your local one. Because it can be difficult for boys - ds discovered that by 10 or 11 most of the boys had stopped (gone to football and other sports).

ds eventually gave up, despite loving it (and being pretty good at it).

So don't sign him up and pay until you are sure he will like it.

serin Fri 30-Aug-13 15:18:20

Hmm! That's the problem Maryz, this branch won't let him have a trial lesson. they want the payment up front on day one sad

I have had a sweet email off the lady who runs the local youth theatre and she has given him the chance to attend from Oct, after their latest performance has finished. He is pleased with this. The cost is £2 a week! I am sure that the teaching is not as rigorous or of as high a quality but we are going to give it a go.

IwishIwasRiverSong Fri 30-Aug-13 17:22:17

Strange that they want payment the first week. I have signed my DDs up, paid the deposit, but the balance doesn't have to be paid until the third week.

pinkdelight Sat 31-Aug-13 09:46:40

Good choice serin. Youth theatres may be less polished but they are rarely the jazz-hands experience curlew describes, which can be a godsend in keeping kids acting natural, whilst building their confidence. Hope he loves it.

cory Sat 31-Aug-13 23:48:37

I wouldn't worry too much about rigorous teaching, serin. If he finds he really loves it he can supplement it with other things later: regional theatre productions, local panto or even National Youth Theatre. And in any case, you learn a lot from being in a show.

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