StageFlight Drama School in Pambula is celebrating its fifth year of operation.
Director Lis Shelley began teaching after-school drama classes in 2013 at Pambula Primary School, then moved to Pambula Town Hall as the demand for classes grew.
In that time Ms Shelley has seen hundreds of young people, including young adults with a disability, develop their self-confidence, learning practical stage and film skills that help them in their everyday lives. Guest tutors from Canberra and the Bega Valley have also taught a range of skills including puppetry, stage lighting, hip hop, flamenco and singing.
“Some students arrive very shy and say nothing for several weeks. Some arrive very self assured but perhaps don’t know how to work with others. We use a lot of different games to introduce drama concepts to students. After a term or two all of the students are working together to create a performance or a short film and learn that it takes all kinds of people to make the magic happen. Coming from all over the Bega Valley, they get to interact with a different peer group outside school, giving them an alternative social – as well as recreational – outlet.
I originally began the classes to ‘bridge the gap’ between early primary – when the imagination is at its peak – and mid high school – when students can take Drama as an elective. The school curriculum is so full that often young people don’t have many opportunities to express themselves through drama in those in-between years, but that’s when their self-confidence and self-expression most need nurturing. Not everyone is into sport; drama offers an alternative way to interact with a group. We give young people a way to express themselves in different roles in a supportive environment as they grow into young adults. Many of our senior students are electing drama in later years either for their HSC or at uni and do very well.”
StageFlight senior students participate in the YoofTube Youth Film Festival each year and have received awards for their work.
“We are often approached to recommend experienced students to perform in, or work as crew for, locally produced theatre, films and TV ads. We also teach adults who want to develop their self confidence or who simply want to experience the joy of theatre. For businesses, we have helped train staff through role playing and team building workshops. To watch adults realise how much fun learning can be when they are given permission to play – even if the underlying message is serious – really makes my day.”
More information about StageFlight can be found on their website www.stageflight.com.au.