Stagecoach Gloucester Expert Insight: How the Performing Arts Can Help Children Thrive – Gloucestershire Theater


Performing arts classes can help children gain self-confidence, work compassionately as part of a team, and seize new opportunities as they learn life skills.

As Stagecoach Gloucester welcomes students for its summer semester of dance, song and drama lessons, SoGlos chats with new director Kate Ridley-Holloway to learn more about the benefits of a education in the performing arts.

About the Expert – Kate Ridley-Holloway, Director at Stagecoach Gloucester

Kate Ridley-Holloway

Passionate about the dramatic arts, Kate Ridley-Holloway is an experienced performer and teacher with years of experience working at Stagecoach Schools in the Southwest. Moving to Gloucestershire in 2021, she brings specialist knowledge and a whole lot of passion to her role as Director at Stagecoach Gloucester.

Now registered for its summer term 2021, Stagecoach Gloucester offers weekend dance, song and theater classes for children aged four to 18. With no experience required, everyone is welcome to participate in a two-week trial and have some fun.

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Tell us a little more about Stagecoach Gloucester. What kind of course do you offer?

We offer fun, confidence-building classes for children ages four to 18, where students learn skills for the stage – and for life.

We teach dance, song and theater with dedicated and professional teachers who are all incredibly knowledgeable about their subject matter and excited to work with our students to create magic!

Our courses are very focused on teamwork, trust and support from teachers and peers. We inspire and encourage self-confidence in a non-competitive space, where students celebrate each other’s successes and encourage each other to do their best.

In short, we teach dancing, singing and acting – but in reality, Stagecoach is much more than that!

Why do you think it is important for children to try acting, singing or dancing?

Overall, the performing arts provide a vast set of skills that students can “tuck away” in their tool belts for later in life.

Whether it’s having the confidence to get up in class and read a poem they’re proud to have written, or just speak up when they have an idea to share, Stagecoach – and all the arts classes – create a safe space where no idea is a bad idea. one and having the courage to try is extremely commended! Failure is considered progress before reaching a goal.

Performing arts classes also teach valuable skills like confidence and teamwork, and that everyone has a right to be heard without judgment. This not only helps build student confidence, but encourages children to listen to each other and adopt an open mindset.

By working together and contributing to an end goal, students can take ownership of what they have created as a team, which also inspires dedication, commitment and responsibility.

I also sincerely believe that each performance offers the opportunity to learn something new. Whether it’s standing in front of a large audience in a large theater or participating in an event at a local fair, every performance teaches adaptability – we want to ‘make it work’, no matter what the challenge! And as long as our Stagecoach team works together, we can always achieve the most fabulous performance.

Parents might assume that performing school is better suited to extroverted children than to more reserved children – is this true?

Absolutely not! Stagecoach is a safe space to be heard – whether your voice rings out from the center of the stage or is whispered with the lift of a shy hand.

Everyone is heard at Stagecoach and everyone is listening. This means that we create one of the most supportive and supportive environments for learning and for thriving. I am extremely proud of the ethics that we have here.

It comes from the workload of our amazing team, but it’s also down to the students themselves, who really want to see themselves succeed. Stagecoach isn’t a competition over who can be the loudest or the best – it’s a step for everyone to create magic together. And every student is equal; each brings something different, new and exciting to the team.

Do children have to be able to sing, dance or play to qualify for a place at Stagecoach Gloucester?

Absolutely not. We encourage any child who loves to play – even if it’s secretly in their bedroom where they think no one can hear them! – to come and participate. As long as students come with the energy and enthusiasm to embrace and immerse in our classes, the doors are open and we look forward to welcoming you and introducing our Stagecoach team to you!

As a performing arts school, what sets Stagecoach Gloucester apart?

At Stagecoach Gloucester, we pride ourselves on having the most amazing teacher. Our team all performed on their own – many even started as Stagecoach students! – and they have all lived or experienced the journey that we ask our Stagecoachers to take.

Our teachers can really put themselves in the shoes of the students. So that, combined with the fantastic level of qualifications they have in teaching, means that they have the perfect combination of skills to get the most out of our students.

For those students who want more, we offer plenty of additional opportunities to perform and gain qualifications. We offer theater exams through LAMDA (London Academy of Dramatic Arts) and musical theater singing exams through Rock School London. These are taught by our dedicated review team and each student can have sessions to hone their work in an individual setting.

And, for those who just want to perform, we provide as many opportunities as possible for our students to take the stage – whether for our own productions, at other local events, or in larger scale theaters alongside. other Stagecoach schools.

We are also registered at Ofsted and independently inspected to ensure we are running the best school possible.

What kinds of life skills can children learn at Stagecoach Gloucester?

My God, where to start? Simply by being in a favorable and encouraging environment, even before having start learning to dance, sing and play, we learn invaluable life skills. Students learn to listen; express themselves if they have ideas, knowing that they will be supported and enthusiastically welcomed by the rest of the group.

Stagecoachers learn to trust and work as a team, realizing early on that in order to make something work, the whole team has to put in effort and commitment. No one can do it alone.

In dance, we encourage the use of freedom of movement with a choreography in which the students can put a little piece of their personality. Steps are taught and techniques learned, but students add the element of performance that brings the piece to life.

This capacity for expression can only be achieved if each student feels supported by enormous amounts of praise when they finally let go and allow themselves to immerse themselves in the work. I truly believe that this ability to add a little bit of themselves to anything they do will make them proud of everything they accomplish in life.

What kinds of jobs can performing arts education lead to later in life?

Quite simply, and to quote a musical theater reference (I just had to slip one in somewhere!): “ You can be whatever you want to be, you can go where you want to see, a little work and you can to do so, faith will allow you to pass through, so many possibilities!

We provide the same set of skills to every student we meet. But each child sets out on their own journey, which can literally take them anywhere; knowing that their Stagecoach Life Skills Tool Belt will always be with them.

And for those students who have a strong career in the arts, we can help them support them in the industry as well. Whether it’s providing performance experience, work experience, gaining qualifications, or putting students in touch with the right agent, if they want to go this route, we’ll be there to help and support. students in every way possible.

Once a year we offer the option of getting updated head shots with a professional photographer. And for our older students, we even have workshops on resume writing and how to find the right education or representation for the type of job they want to get into.

What is the best part of your job as manager of Stagecoach Gloucester?

Simply! I’m very lucky to love what I do and going back to what I said earlier, I really believe I put a little bit of myself into everything we do at Stagecoach Gloucester.

I am invested in the children’s travels and I totally share their successes and accomplishments – I guess we are all on this ride together at Stagecoach! I would do nothing else and make the most of every moment of my time with these wonderful young people.

For more information on Stagecoach Gloucester, or to sign up for a two-week trial, visit

By Annabel Lammas

© SoGlos
Monday April 26, 2021

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