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Drama club demands in summer months

(16 Posts)
Sixtiesqueen Thu 27-Feb-14 23:01:43

DD1 attends a drama club for 2 hours on a Saturday. She's been going now for 2.5 years and seems to enjoy it. We joined up to improve her confidence and it seems to have worked, though not massively. She's almost 9.

The drama club puts on three shows a year. They also periodically do exams. It was never as 'full on' as this in the past, but competition has sprung up locally and also the owner is devoting more time to the club in the last year. I sort of feel as though it's not what I originally signed up for. The owner is young and enthusiastic. She has no children so I do feel that she makes demands of parents that are unreasonable at times (for example, I had to produce three outfits for one show…and none of them was easy - I also work and have a 4 year old).

The main problem I have is the summer show. They put on four performances over two days (a weekend). They also spend the whole of the previous weekend rehearsing. The theatre is not local and there is a significant amount of running to/from shows. It basically blocks out the last weekend in June/First weekend in July for the whole family - nobody can go anywhere or do anything for two consecutive weekends, when actually the weather is often very good and we'd like to get out/go camping. We have a younger daughter who basically spends two consecutive weekends being dragged about to shows/rehearsals. Even DD1 complains about being shut up inside for two weekends running.

Attendance is required at the Saturday morning class every week in the run up to the show. Absences are very much frowned upon. This makes it very hard to get away for a weekend in the summer as a family until after the schools break up. My husband often works weekends so it's even harder to schedule a family trip. I am really beginning to resent this drama class and have tried to persuade DD to drop it but she wants to keep going.

Is this normal for drama clubs? I'm not talking about professional actors, I'm talking about a club in our community centre, though admittedly some children have gone on to minor roles in adverts/TV -neither DD nor I have any ambition in this direction. I just want her to have fun.

Wrong board - but AIBU?? Would anyone else find this a bit much?

MrsCakesPremonition Fri 28-Feb-14 01:48:03

And this is exactly why, when DD's dance teacher cancelled her 45min long dance classes before school and suggested we start going to the 3 hour long dance/drama class on a Saturday morning instead, we walked away and found DD a different activity instead.

nooka Fri 28-Feb-14 02:07:30

I don't think it really matters whether it's normal or otherwise, if it's not working for you as a family (and if it's not incredibly important to your dd) then it's time to find something less intense for your daughter. It does sound like a lot for a 9 year old.

My dd goes to a drama club, it's an hour and a half once a week after school leading up to a performance in May. There will be lots of rehearsals in the last month or so but costumes will be hired so it's not a huge hassle for us. She can do optional sessions in the holidays and will probably do a summer camp (two weeks leading to a performance).

saintlyjimjams Fri 28-Feb-14 07:14:52

My son does a few different drama clubs. Some are like this - but they are all ones you audition for & you are told the commitment before you audition.

The other more general ones are not remotely like that.

IMO they do different things - if your dd enjoys but isn't obsessed by drama she needs the second type of club.

LIZS Fri 28-Feb-14 07:22:17

Sounds pretty normal especially if they then break up for summer holiday. Could you opt her out of the show/summer term or look for a group elsewhere.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeGoes Fri 28-Feb-14 07:35:41

This is why my DD goes to a group that meets on a weekday evening - we don't commit to any activity that requires us to attend every single weekend. Her drama group does one weekend of shows (Fri and Sat eve plus dress rehearsals from about 4) two shows per year.

Lottiedoubtie Fri 28-Feb-14 07:38:34

Yep, totally normal. Take it or leave it. If there's no demand for it the teacher will adapt or fold, sounds like there is though.

Sixtiesqueen Fri 28-Feb-14 09:51:51

Thanks for your replies.

I think the problem is that the club has grown and changed focus towards auditioning kids for TV roles and sort of establishing itself. I guess the owner has decided she really wants to make a go of it - she's really lovely and the kids like her - but there have been several extra curricular trips/competitions that I haven't wanted to take part in (I really just want her to have fun on a saturday morning) but these have been put to DD before I've had chance to consider them.

She ended up taking part in a variety show 20 miles away one weekend - it was a competition and they didn't win, which led to lots of tears - and she was also told about an audition for a film role before I had agreed to it (I wasn't going to agree) but once she had been told, she was desperate to audition so that was another Sunday lost, not to mention the hours and hours spent learning the script/getting me to video her.

She does enjoy going, for the social aspect I think. More recently our friends' children have also joined and this has strengthened her resolve to attend. At her age, she doesn't understand that this club affects the rest of us negatively. She isn't the most confident child and I think she'd be really upset if she couldn't go but I'm really torn on this one because I feel so strongly about how much it affects us in the summer.

If I opt her out of the summer show, she will be working every Saturday towards a show she isn't taking part in. On the other hand she has experience of standing in front of an examiner and delivering a solo script, a dance etc. That takes some nerve at her age - and she really was nervous but buzzing afterwards. Gosh I'm torn.

isitsnowingyet Fri 28-Feb-14 10:01:05

Sounds like your daughter is getting quite a lot out it. Maybe you'll just have to suck it up as it were? My DD was doing ballet/modern dance that was getting quite expensive intense with formal exams and rehearsals for the exams, and then a performance that took up a full weekend etc etc. I was secretly quite relieved when she decided it wasn't for her any more.

She's since learned to swim instead, which has been great for her confidence too.

Perhaps your daughter will naturally move on to something else in 6 months? Also maybe have a word with the teacher/leader about giving notices to parents first regarding auditions or extra competitions, as I can see that would be difficult.

Lancelottie Fri 28-Feb-14 13:12:37

DS does one club with this level of commitment, but he's 15, so I can tell him narkily that he can blooming well get himself to it if he's that keen, while the rest of us go elsewhere.

Yes, it's quite normal to expect everyone there at every rehearsal unless you've given plenty of warning. Maybe that's the compromise? Book your weekend away early, then say firmly, 'X won't be able to attend on the 15th of next month because of a family commitment; I thought I'd let you know in good time so you can work round it.'

Lancelottie Fri 28-Feb-14 13:13:39

(I've just thrashed out a clash of choir versus drama performance dates for July for my two. Is this what life has come to?)

Sixtiesqueen Fri 28-Feb-14 13:46:25

Thanks for your continued responses. Perhaps you're right, I might just have to suck it up. I could start sewing the seed of 'when you go to high school…' (she's in Y4).

We bought a tent last year. It's those weekends when the weather looks perfect and we could whisk the kids off somewhere after school on Friday night…..You can guarantee that if I give the teacher advance warning that we are having such and such a weekend away, it will bucket with rain and then she will end up going! See - what we need is a camper van!

saintlyjimjams Fri 28-Feb-14 13:46:55

Anything that involves performances will be pretty inflexible - as attendance affects others. There are drama clubs that do not emphasise performance so much ( they may have show backs/demonstrations to parents) - those are usually more flexible.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeGoes Fri 28-Feb-14 14:11:30

We've already got a clash for July too. Last year we got to June and realised we didn't have a free weekend till Sept with drama show, ballet rehearsal and show, Cub camp, football, holiday etc, etc.

What we have done is find a nice campsite about 25 mins away from hone which means we can go camping but still pop back for appointments and activities. We are hoping to try one or two others locally this year.

EvilTwins Sat 01-Mar-14 19:08:05

My DTDs attend a drama group one afternoon after school. They started in September. There was then a performance for Halloween, which the group leaders didn't give much notice of, and loads of them (mine included) were unable to do. I don't know if other parents made a fuss, or if they just figured it out for themselves, but we've known since January that the next performance will be at the end of May, and have all the commitments in writing. It has meant that we've been able to make an informed decision. The choir they go to is similarly well organised. If you feel that the commitment is too much, then you'll need to make the decision to find another activity or an alternative drama group.

FWIW, we got to the point last year where we had Friday evening and Sunday morning activities and it really got in the way. The girls no longer do the Sunday activity and it's made life much easier.

DeWe Mon 03-Mar-14 11:26:42

My dc (13, 10, 6) do a local panto. It's non-audition, but the rehearsals are about 2-3 months of 3 hours on Saturday, followed by full cast (so they're there but not on stage for most) for 4 hours Sundays for 4-6 weeks, then two weekends of 3 performances. But they do need to be there for those rehearsals-or as much as possible. It does negatively effect both them and the others they're performing with if they're not there. Even dances where they don't have partners the other children have to leave a space etc.
They love it, and it is a lot of fun for them.

But I think a whole weekend rehearsing (assuming they have to be there for the lot) is too much for some dc. What exactly are the hours, because there is a legal limit as to how much children should be expected to do. The chaperones should be able to give some guidance on that or phone your local "Children in Entertainment" office at the council. Or are you a trained chaperone?

You say competition has sprung up? Maybe it's time to look at that competition and choose a different one that suits you more? Dd1's group performs in October, which is great because it doesn't dominate the summer, and we're free before Christmas. Something maybe to look at?

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