Drama group helps to build kids’ confidence

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Amy Henton has a passion for building youngsters confidence and self-esteem.

She is a principal for the Helen O’Grady Academy and says she loves what the dance school stands for – working on students’ confidence and having fun, rather than pushing them to become stars.

The classes are run at Kimberley Primary School, where Amy gives her pupils the chance to improve their communication and explore their creativity.

Amy says: “I like how the academy is operated – none of the cliché stage school stuff, it’s about having fun. You don’t have to necessarily expect anything from the children.

“The curriculum is focused specifically on certain skills and all my students enjoy it.

“They love the fun factor of it and love making new friends as well.”

The 30-year-old looks at speech and movement to build the children’s self esteem.

One of the activities they do is “mime to music”.

Amy, of Kimberley, says: “We look at using their voices and bodies with what we do, but through drama as well.

“They have to act out the song without making any sound.

“It’s quite interesting because children love to talk.”

The sessions are for children aged four to 11 and youngsters aged 11 to 17.

The groups do one big play a year each July. They start rehearsing after Easter and perform the finished show at West Bridgford School.

Amy says: “It shows that they have built their confidence and they get certificates and medals to show we are proud of them.”

The Helen O’Grady Academy started out in Australia 36 years ago as an after-school club.

Helen had the one aim of creating something that offered children the chance to have fun.

Amy says: “It was a self development programme. There was nothing around like it at the time.”

It gradually spread and now has schools all over the world, including branches in Malta, Bosnia, and Asia, and many here in the UK.

Amy started with the company straight out of university nine years ago, just teaching on Saturdays.

She slowly took on more and more classes and now runs them from Kimberley, Wollaton, West Bridgford and Long Eaton.

She plans to open five or six more studios over the next year, and is starting classes at Rumbletums Café in Kimberley in January children aged two to four, as well as adult classes in Wollaton.