Meeting people from all walks of life, cultures and age groups gives us some of life’s most enriching experiences. With today’s social media domination, where people are increasing their interaction through their phones and computer screens, it’s more important than ever to meet new people face to face.
Whether performing on stage or working behind the scenes, being involved in community theatre is not only a fantastic way to build confidence and learn new skills, it is also the perfect place to make new friends.
Youth theatre, like The Young Company (TYC), has been bringing young people together for 10 years, sparking hundreds of friendships.
“It’s wonderful to see so many people across all ages working and having fun together,” TYC founder and general manager Leigh Boswell said. “The bonds and friendships formed in theatre and at TYC always last a very long time.
“We are passionate about using each moment and interaction to promote friendships amongst our region’s children and young people while consistently affirming how highly valued each individual person is within their community.”
TYC, which teaches students from prep page to 25, has a wide range of school, after-school and school-holiday programs. In learning about acting, writing, directing and all aspects of productions, the students also develop life-long skills such as creative thinking, self-confidence and social skills.
Evelyn McGuinness said she was shy before joining TYC, which affected her school life.
"I started at TYC as a timid person,” she said. “I wasn't good at speaking up or making friends, and I had a hard time at school. My experience at TYC is one that I will cherish forever. Not only did the team help me grow out of my shell but also become the bubbly, bright and positive person I am today.”
TYC, a not-for-profit theatre company, showcase young talent at the end of each semester, during school holiday programs and also during term time for its main-stage productions and community events. It also holds a Headstart Program, working with schools to help young students prepare for transition to high school through developing a sense of community belonging.
“Young people learn so many valuable life-long skills and gain great self-confidence when they’re involved in theatre,” Leigh said. “But one of the most important benefits of being involved in the theatre is the genuine friendships formed.”
Developing creative and innovative skills in children and young adults gives them a variety of valuable life skills they’ll use forever, but how exactly how do we teach our children these important skills?
One of the best and most enjoyable ways to inspire creativity in young people is by having them involved in youth theatre, like The Young Company (TYC).
Sparking and developing children’s imagination by being involved in all aspects of theatre (from behind the scenes through to on-stage performances) enables them to think creatively, which is a life-long skill that gives them the ability to invent and create solutions in all aspects of their lives.
With a small financial budget to work with, students involved in youth theatre are hands-on in creating their own costumes. Theatre groups like TYC offer costume-making sessions where students recycle existing items of clothes and accessories in the costume wardrobe to create their character’s outfits.
Same with set designs. Again, a limited budget means students learn to use existing tools and props to create the right settings.
“Creating their own costumes and helping come up with set-design ideas are skills that transfer through to adulthood,” said TYC founder and general manager Leigh Boswell. “They’re using their imagination, learning to problem solve with the resources they have and learning to think outside the box. These are skills that have greatly benefit today’s leaders, entrepreneurs and successful businesspeople.”
Research has shown the creative people find easier ways around problems and challenges because they see things differently and are better able to adapt to changing environments.
It’s also shown that creativity reduces stress and anxiety.
“Kids can make anything with their imagination,” Leigh said. “They can turn an empty box into a car or a castle or create a new costume from a box of old clothes. Youth theatre awakens and helps develop their imaginations and creativity, which are traits that will be an asset for them throughout their lives.”
As parents, we want the best for our children – plenty of good food, a loving home, comfy clothes and a career that will bring them happiness. And, if our children show a career interest early on in life, we do our best to support them.
But what if your child decides they want to be an actor? As adults, we know that acting is a challenging field to break into, especially in this day of reality TV and YouTube where non-talented people can become celebrities.
But if your child is really keen, there is a way for them to learn all about the industry before they become adults, helping them decide if acting really is the career choice for them.
Youth theatre, like The Young Company (TYC), is a perfect place to introduce your child to the world of acting, although they have experienced a similar dramatic activity before they even started school through make-believe play.
With a young theatre group, children learn the different aspects of the acting spectrum such as getting into character, memorising lines, learning to speak clearly and performing on stage to a live audience, to name just a few of the industry skills they learn.
TYC is perfect for all ages. It provides a variety of programs from beginner to advanced for children and young adults from preschool age to 25 years old. It also has in-school and school-holiday programs, showcases young talent through productions throughout the year and even has a red-carpet awards night each year.
There are many world-famous actors like Colin Firth and Daniel Craig who showed an interest in acting at a young age, which led them to join a youth theatre (National Youth Theatre). Colin was just 10 years old when he started attending drama workshops before deciding to be a professional actor at just 14, while Daniel began acting in school plays at the age of six before and continued acting in high school performances.
While your child may not become a famous actor like Colin and Daniel, they have a chance to get a taste of the acting world, perform with a professional youth theatre group in front of an audience and see if acting really is for them. If it is, you just never know - your child could be the next OO7!
Having self-confidence is not something that comes naturally to everyone. It can be even more challenging for children and young adults these days, especially in this social media era where digitally altered pictures can make anyone look like a model and everyone can pretend to life a dream life.
As parents and educators, we want our children to have the confidence needed to succeed in life. Real confidence, that is. We want them to be self-assured within themselves, develop genuine friendships, not be afraid to voice their thoughts and opinions and have the courage to achieve anything they want to accomplish.
One of the best ways to increase your child’s confidence across all aspects of their life is to involve them in youth community theatre, such as The Young Company (TYC) in Cairns, which is celebrating its 10th birthday this year. Acting, singing, dancing and learning all aspects of costume design, stage construction and sound and lighting production gives children and young adults a wealth of life-long skills and knowledge that are invaluable.
Acting is a great way for children to step outside of their comfort zone in a safe environment. While they may normally be shy to speak in front of a group of people, playing a character in a play allows them to “pretend” to be someone else, which breaks down their fear of speaking in front of large audiences and being judged by others.
It doesn’t matter if a child is acting, singing, dancing or working behind the scenes in a theatre production, children involved in theatre all have a common goal of achieving a successful result. And working together as group is one of the best ways for children to feel a great sense of accomplishment. That sense of pride and confidence is then carried into other areas of their lives.
Making new friends
Being part of a theatre group gives children the perfect opportunity to make new friends across different age groups with people who aren’t normally part of social circles. Being part of a production is a collaborative experience where everyone works together. It gives children a safe, fun and encouraging environment to try new things without being judged because everyone is working together for the same result.
Improves academic life
Research has shown that acting and being involved in theatre helps children improve their academic performances. They develop improved listening, reading, comprehension and social skills which are huge benefits in their school life.
Give your child a genuine and long-lasting confidence boost by enrolling them in The Young Company. Phone 4041 4066 for more details on how you can set your child on the path towards a successful and confident future.
Attending drama classes gives your children so many valuable life skills that aren’t taught in an ordinary school classroom. No matter if your child is shy and lacking self-confidence or is a drama queen or king, enrolling your child in drama classes is one of the best things you can do for your them.
The benefits for your child are enormous and will help them in many ways now and throughout their lives such as:
One of the most important skills that will benefit your child by attending drama classes is increased self-confidence. Classes such as singing, dancing and acting helps shy students come out of their shells as they try something new, and that improves through each of their successes. Children who aren’t shy also benefit from the increased self-confidence and self-esteem as their performing arts skills improve.
Drama classes provides an excellent opportunity for children to make new friends outside of their normal circle and their age group. They are taught how to be part of a group and how to work together towards a goal, which provides common ground for friendships to develop and flourish. They also become closer and proud of each other as they celebrate their successes together.
Sparking and developing children’s imagination by being involved in performing arts enables them to think creatively, which is a life-long skill as they have the ability to invent and create solutions in all aspects of life. It teaches children to think outside the box, which is what has greatly benefited today’s leaders, entrepreneurs and successful business people.
Children today tend to become consumed by technology. Getting them away from tablets, computers and phones can be challenging, but not when they’re involved in performing arts. Not only do they love and have fun at the activities they’re involved in, they are interacting and connecting with other children. Creative drama also gives children the opportunity to express a wide range of emotions, thoughts and ideas that help them communicate effectively.
School and life skills
Memorising lines in a play, writing their own scripts, projecting their voices across the room, listening skills and respect for deadlines are all part of drama classes, and they are also what is needed when students have a school presentation to make or participate in group discussions. These skills also help them enormously throughout their lives and their working careers.
Give your child that extra edge that will benefit them throughout their lives by enrolling them in The Young Company, a 10-year-old theatre company in Cairns devoted to helping young people aged from age three to 20.
A passion for the creative arts, which started when she was just three years old performing on stage in various productions and eisteddfods, led Leigh Boswell on a life-long journey of studying, teaching and helping others find their creative pathways.
The founder and general manager of The Young Company (TYC), which is celebrating its 10th birthday this year, has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry. After completing a Bachelor of Arts (Drama) and a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) at the Queensland University of Technology, where she graduated with honours, she continued to study a postgraduate degree in Creative Industries (Arts and Cultural Management).
She has worked for numerous organisations including Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane Powerhouse, Metro Arts, to name just a few, and recently participated in the Australia Council for the Arts Leadership Program.
“I grew up in Cairns, and I had to travel down south to get my degrees,” the mother of two said. “I started The Young Company to allow young people in Cairns and Far North Queensland the opportunity to channel their creativity and allow their creativity to flourish.”
Since TYC was established in 2009 with just seven students, it has grown to become an award-winning and nationally-recognised professional youth theatre company and currently has 400 students who are taught by a team of 15.
The theatre company is for young people aged from age three to 20. Students learn all aspects of production including screen writing, film and television, stage production, pantomime, costume design and performing on stage.
“Many of our students have grown up with us,” Leigh said. “Some have gone on to pursuit a creative career in the arts leading them into future employment, while some students are employed with us.”
TYC holds in-school and out-of-school classes and showcases the young talent at the end of each school semester, during school holiday programs and perming at various community events such as the Cairns Children’s Festival, National Youth Week and the Cairns Festival.
The not-for-profit organisation works in partnership with community service organisations, the education sector, all levels of government, arts organisations and the private sector and is self-funded through its various programs and performances.
Research has shown that performing arts is a huge benefit to the development and wellbeing of children. It builds confidence, improves their listening and communication skills, improves their memory, sparks their imagination and teaches cooperation – all valuable skills that they will use throughout their lives.
“Our mission is to spark the imagination and fuel a sense of discovery in children and young people,” Leigh said. “We create exceptional theatre experiences that educate, engage, challenge and inspire children, young people and their communities.”
For more information on the TYC, visit www.theyoungcompany.com.au or phone 4041 4066.