We’re keen to share the experiences, trials, tribulations and success stories of everyone who works in the youth theatre in Scotland. Here’s a post from Charly Anderson of Love Drama where she talks about how she found her way into youth theatre and how that has turned into her career:
“Hello! My name is Charly Anderson and I am the Company Director of Love Drama, a drama in education business based in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Love Drama provides fun and exciting drama workshops for nursery children, school children and teenagers up to the age of 18 year olds.
Our core aims are:
· To design and deliver high quality drama workshops which allow children to learn, create and grow as individuals in a safe, active and enjoyable environment.
· To recognise the potential in every child and strive to maximise this potential through providing high quality drama experiences.
· To promote the valuable skills which are harnessed through drama: confidence, self-esteem, independence, communication, team-work, peer assessment, presentation, performance and leadership all of which link to the Curriculum for Excellence.
Love Drama became my business in 2015 after I had been Director and Manager for a year. Before this, I had graduated from Queen Margaret University after studying Drama and Performance.
I got involved with drama completely by accident. When I was 14 my friend took me along to her drama class at Borders Youth Theatre and I knew instantly that this was the industry I wanted to have my career in. That same term, I signed up for a Drama Leaders in the Community Course and I have never looked back. Shortly after, I was volunteering every week at BYT and stayed until I left for University.
It wasn‘t until I went to University that I realised how many careers it was possible to have in the creative industries. I became so overwhelmed that I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated. My first two and a half years were spent panicking but finally in my third year I had a breakthrough. During one of my modules I was sent on a placement to the Lyceum Youth Theatre. I was so nervous which wasn‘t helped by the fact I was in an area of the city I had never been to before. But when I went in I was met by one of the tutors from BYT. This instantly calmed me and what was lovely was that she recognised me too. I don‘t remember how the class went but I do remember feeling elated and having a lightbulb moment: I wanted to be a Youth Theatre practitioner.
That year I started to pick up freelance work at the Lyceum Youth Theatre and East Lothian Youth Theatre. This continued until after I graduated and it has only been in the last eighteen months that I have stopped freelancing due to how busy Love Drama now is.
I began working for Love Drama in 2014 and this is where I realised that I didn‘t want to just direct children and young people on a stage. I was very interested in the process of creating drama. Intrigued, I began to focus more on the transferable skills that drama can improve and the specific needs of each child in the group. With this in mind, I let my classes have more of the reins and gave them more responsibility and more time to critique their work when it came to putting on their shows. The results were very interesting. I saw a change in the atmosphere of the classes; the members were more relaxed but had more creative energy, children were becoming more confident more quickly and the shows were just as good. I became a much more fun and excitable tutor and I also began to get more positive feedback from parents and teachers.
I continue to practice child lead drama in all my classes. I am developing a great passion for it and spend a lot of time researching its benefits. I believe that all children deserve to express themselves creatively and that this method really helps to do this.
It has also meant that I have attracted parents who have children with additional support needs. I have quite a bit of experience working with children who need extra support and because my classes are child-led it means that these children are calmer, have fun and make friends which they can sometimes find difficult to do. Although to be honest, I am incredibly lucky and have some of the nicest children in my classes which makes this very easy!
I should mention that just because my classes are very relaxed, it does not mean that I have 20 children running riot (let‘s face it, we‘ve all been there). An incredible amount of planning goes into each class and theatre and drama are still the main reasons we are all in that room together.
I would never have guessed as a nervous 14 year old that over 10 years later I would own and be running my own drama business. It has been and still remains incredibly exciting and so rewarding but it is really hard at times. I am learning every day and I wouldn‘t change anything. I have recently realised that many practitioners are in the same boat and feel the same. It‘s good to know that we aren‘t alone in this and a nice reminder that everyone feels the same struggles. It‘s encouraging that at the end of the day, no matter what kind of practitioner you are we all have the same goal; to give children, young people and adults the chance to be involved in as many creative projects as possible so that they can express themselves and increase their confidence and belief in themselves”
Find out more about Love Drama by visiting their website at www.lovedrama.co.uk, liking their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lovedrama and following them on Twitter at @lovedramacouk and Instagram at @lovedramacouk. If you’d like to share your youth theatre experience with our sector, please get in touch with Vikki Doig, YTAS’ Sector Engagement Officer