Choosing the right Colchester Performing Arts School for your child is an important decision which is worth some serious consideration and even research. Whilst most, if not all, local schools offer good tuition with qualified tutors, the quality of the training and facilities can vary quite dramatically. Choosing the right school could be the first step to your child building confidence, having some great fun and meeting lots of new friends. Before making any decision it is certainly worth taking up the option of a FREE TASTER SESSION if that is on offer to ensure your child is ready and enjoys the school before committing to the expense involved. 

Theatricool does Peter Pan  at Mercury theatre Colchester 

Being part of a professional and caring Musical Theatre School can be a great experience for any child and help boost their confidence and self esteem, so what should you look for when choosing the right school for your child? Below we have featured some Frequently asked questions with our opinion on the answers. 
Frequently Asked Questions: 
 
Q: What qualifications should lead tutors have in a quality Theatre School? 
A: There is no hard and fast rule but it is important to ensure lead tutors have relevant training and qualifications such as a degree in musical theatre and/or relevant industry experience. Teaching qualifications (PGCE) ensures staff are formally trained teachers and qualified to work with children.  
 
Q: Other than qualifications, what should I be looking for to ensure a Theatre School is right for my child? 
A: That is a very big question which covers many aspects of how a Theatre School operates. Below are a few of the basic things you should try to establish before considering committing to any particular school. 
 
It is important to ensure the school principal and staff have a passion for performing arts and for teaching children and young adults. You can establish this by talking to the principal and perhaps asking for the names of a few parents or guardians whose children already train at that school and arranging to have a chat with them to get their opinion on the school.  
Check out the facilities a school has to offer. Because of the lack of quality facilities, some Theatre and Drama schools operate in cramped conditions, sometimes even moving students from one small room to another which can waste a lot of valuable time and disrupt classes. Others might operate in cold and drafty halls which are uncomfortable in the winter and hot summers. The ideal environment for theatre and performing arts training is a custom built studio with a wooden (preferably sprung) floor, mirrors, ballet barres, sound system, heated in winter and air conditioned in summer. It is also desirable there is plenty of space which allows the students to train and express themselves without restriction. 
Ensure your child is training in a safe and secure environment. All members of staff should be enhanced DBS checked to ensure they don't have any criminal records and are fit and proper people to work with young children. When staging performances the school should have the requisite number of licensed chaperones and obtain a 'Body of Persons Licence' from the local council. The school should also have all have requisite insurances in place and any premises used should comply with all health and safety regulations including fire certificates. It is also worth inquiring about the ratio of staff to students as this can impact on the quality of training as well as students safety. 
 
What qualifications can my child expect to achieve? 
The industry standard qualifications for theatre schools are set and run by LAMDA (London academy of music & dramatic art). LAMDA set examinations and offer qualifications in many Performing Arts subjects including Musical Theatre, Performance and Communication among others. It is reasonable to say that any quality Theatre School should offer the opportunity for students to study for and take part in LAMDA courses and examinations which helps gauge students progress. 
 
Will I be able to see my child perform? 
Most Theatre Schools will stage at least one performance per year when family and friends can come along to watch a showcase where they can see the student perform on stage, some schools will do this twice yearly, this is an experience which can vary greatly from school to school. Some of the national schools will bring together students from various regions throughout the country to experience being on a West End stage. Because of the sheer numbers involved in this it can be difficult to accommodate most students with only a few given the opportunity to perform in any significant way. At the other end of the scale some small Theatre schools stage these events in the same facility the students train in due to financial constraints. Whilst this can still be a good experience it doesn't give the students the experience of performing on a professional stage. A quality independent Theatre School will often stage a showcase or a full blown musical at their local theatre. This allows family and friends, as well as the students, to enjoy and benefit from a professionally staged performance in a true theatre environment which is usually the pinnacle of the school's and student's Theatre School year.  
 
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