New youth drama school set up in Sunderland

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BUDDING actors have the chance to take centre stage at a new Wearside drama school.

The Nice Swan Academy will be opening in Sunderland next month for children aged five to 15 years old who have been bitten by the acting bug.

Based at Studio JAM premises in Villiers Street, Sunniside, the academy is hoping to uncover some of the city’s future stars.

Nice Swan Academy was launched in 2010 in Tyneside as a division of the successful production group Nice Swan Theatre Company, which has produced shows in Newcastle such as Hair the Musical, Macbeth and A Streetcar Named Desire, and due to demand is expanding into Wearside.

The company works with more than 70 talented 18-25-year-olds who come together to perform, create, design and stage musicals, plays, gala events and corporate gigs throughout the year.

The academy was set up as a way of nurturing new talent from a young age, offering performing arts classes for children, which bring together dance training, singing/vocal skills and performance technique into one class allowing them to learn and incorporate their skills into a routine or performance.

The children stage regular performances and also audition for professional shows across the country.

Kate Ross, head of drama, said: “It’s all about giving the child what they want, and having fun. If they enjoy coming every week and learning with others that have a similar interest then its great for their confidence.”

Jamie Gray, managing director of the company, said: “It’s so good to pop into class on and see so many children smiling and having fun whilst progressing in performance - we definitely have some stars of the future.

“I think we have a good approach here, you need to look at things from a child’s perspective. When I was six-years-old I wouldn’t come every week and listen to a teacher stand at the front and shout orders, you need a good balance of learning and fun for a child to want to come and achieve their ambitions.”

Nice Swan Academy will be starting their sessions at Studio JAM in September.

There will be a performance class for age five-10-year-olds and a drama class for age 10-15-year-olds on Friday evenings.

Anyone interesting should email or visit the website at