LIFE'S A STAGE: Footlights Theatre School has been guiding its students in drama fun for 20 years.
LIFE'S A STAGE: Footlights Theatre School has been guiding its students in drama fun for 20 years. Trish Bowman

Autism no drama at workshop

WANTING to do something to help children with special need find their confidence, the team at Footlights Theatre School decided to hold a drama workshop for children aged from seven to 15 under the autism spectrum.

Footlights holds a regular drama class for young people and it was at one of those classes co-owner Kaye Walpole was inspired to hold a school holiday program for children with all levels of autism, including Asperger's.

"We had a mother come along who had enrolled her children in our weekly classes,” Kaye said.

"She was a little concerned because her children had been diagnosed with Asperger's and she wasn't entirely sure the classes would be a good fit for her children.

"She needn't have worried, the children had a fabulous time and really came out of their shells and thrived in confidence and in their ability to express themselves.”

Kaye said the classes were a genuine treat for all children.

"We have very experienced teachers who excel at encouraging the children to freely express themselves,” she said.

"They get to engage with other children and gain experience in having the confidence to take the stage in front of an audience.

"Children work in groups of four or five so they also learn about teamwork, they are encouraged to use their imagination with lots of improvisation and of course we have a good collection of props and costumes that can be used.

"We keep the activities short and encourage students to listen without putting any pressure on them to learn lines.”

During the school holidays, Footlights Theatre School will hold two drama workshops for children on the autism spectrum, aged seven to 15, who have an interest in drama. These take place on April 5-6 from 10am-1pm.

Number are limited to 10 children per day to ensure each child gains plenty of tuition.

There are two teachers, Kaye Walpole and Tayla St James, who are both experienced performers and teachers.

The workshops are partly funded through the Regional Arts Development Funding to support local arts.

Applications and bookings are a must as numbers are strictly limited. For inquiries, phone 4939 2399 or visit Cost is $10 per child each day.

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