Have your child’s acting classes been cancelled due to coronavirus lockdown? So many children love their weekly acting lessons, but it’s one of the things that has just stopped due to Covid 19. Luckily though, there is a way to continue with regular singing, dancing and acting classes like those you’re used to, while you’re isolated at home.

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We have received financial compensation for our time spent reviewing the full range of Stage Academy Online classes. All writing and opinion of the school is our own. Images belong to Stage Academy.

Online acting classes for kids as good as being there in person

 

We’ve just spent the weekend working through the first couple of weeks of classes from Stage Academy Online, and I’m really impressed. Stage Academy is already a well established independent performing arts school in London for kids from 4-18. Like most children’s classes, they’ve had to stop operating face to face during lockdown. Now, lots of my kids’ activity providers have put together some online resources, and even a few live classes to keep them going until normal activities can resume. But Stage Academy have gone one step further. They’ve made their entire programme available to work through online, not just for existing members, but for any child  who wants to sign up for acting classes.

 

A Stage Academy teacher delivering an online class

 

I know what you’re thinking – you can’t learn drama from an online class, it needs interaction and engagement, and I’m not that kind of parent! And I’m with you. I am SO not that parent! But the classes feel really engaging, and with Stage Academy Online you don’t just get lessons delivered; you also get assignments and personal feedback so your child can continuously improve, just as they would if they were attending drama lessons in person. Both my kids were involved in weekly drama classes growing up, Maddie from around 6 years old until very recently aged 15, and the quality of delivery in these online classes is everything I would expect from the lessons I saw as a parent on many a watching week. Let me tell you why.

 

A weekly programme of stage school activity

If your child has ever attended performing arts classes you’ll know that they tend to cover three main areas – Dancing, Singing, and Acting – working through each section every week. Stage Academy is similar, but with some added skills education that’s also extended to the online programme.

For 6-18s that means classes each week cover 5 key areas: Warmup and Welcome, Act, Sing, Dance and Succeed. The Succeed class is unique to Stage Academy and all about teaching extra special skills each week such as improvisation, acting for camera, mime, stage combat and much more. In week one our Succeed class taught us some filming techniques to maximise the effect of a performance, and the professionalism of a video. I’m not going to lie, I think I got even more out of the session than the kids did, and I’ll be using them on my Instagram account from now on!

For 4-6s the programme uses original songs, poems, dances and scripts written specifically for the Stage Academy Jrs, and a lovable Stage Academy character Sammy who children will see each week when you log on.

The teachers are really engaging, and take kids through each stage slowly enough that even I could follow them. As well as the warm-ups and dance routine classes (to tracks from stars like the Jonas Brothers and Taylor Swift), the instructors added special sections on things like arm coordination. It made me think I could have done with that level of input when I was floundering on the back row of step classes in my uncoordinated twenties! Needless to say, the kids picked it up much more quickly than I did!

 

Acting classes for kids you can do at home

 

Classes you can come back to whenever you like

 

New classes go live every Thursday lunchtime, but – and this is the genius part for busy families – they stay live for you to complete whenever you like, and you can pause and restart whenever you need to. There’s no need to be there at a specific time, so if you need to break for lunch/bedtime/sibling arguments, the website will save your progress so you can jump back in where you left off. You can even go back to previous weeks and repeat sections that interest you or your child.

 

Genuine feedback from experienced professional teachers

 

All of Stage Academy’s teachers are performing arts industry professionals with years of professional teaching and performing experience, but what really sets Stage Academy Online apart from other online offerings is that they set assignments for students in each lesson. So after learning an Uptown Funk dance routine, or practicing a particular acting technique, you might be set an assignment to record yourself performing it to upload to the platform for teachers to see.
We tested this feature out and Maddie uploaded a monologue she performed to camera. It doesn’t have to be swish – she just recorded on her smartphone and sent it through. I thought the feedback she got was really supportive – a friendly email highlighting all the things she’d done that impressed the teacher, along with some things she could add to make it even better next time. It was really motivational in tone, and also gave her pointers for professionalising her recordings should she ever want to upload them as audition pieces to casting directors.
Given the importance of feedback to a student’s learning, and the difficulty in lockdown of giving good feedback, I think that this aspect of the Stage Academy Online experience really sets it apart from other online learning programmes. It makes it feel a lot more like the face to face learning opportunities they would normally have in a practical class.

Stage Academy Online Facts for Parents

  • Stage Academy works towards four key goals for all students that they call STARS: Self-confidence, Teamwork, Ambition and Responsibility within students so they can be Successful STARS of the future, on-stage or off. They believe developing this kind of life skill is more important now than ever before, which is why they’ve carried it through into their online offering.
  • All new students get a 7 day free trial and afterwards membership is just £10 a month for 4-6s or 6-18s. Alternatively parents can pay £15 a month for BOTH 4-6s and 6-18s with Stage Academy “All Access” – this is one price for the whole household, not just per student.

I asked Andrew, principal at Stage Academy, why he chose to take the school’s online classes to this next level:

“We wanted to provide a service where parents know they are getting top quality teaching and their children are still getting individual feedback to improve. We also wanted to open this up to as many young people as possible which is why we have made it avaliable to anyone at a fair price with a free trial.
As a small business we also wanted to find a way to keep the Stage Academy ethos alive and continue to support our students and staff.”
Have a look at the video below for some more insight into Stage Academy’s classes for all ages, then follow this link to start your free 7-day trial with no commitment. I can’t think of a reason not to do this, given the need to find engaging activities for our children and teenagers during lockdown. And I’m pretty confident you might find it useful enough to sign up for the longer term. Have a look at the Stage Academy Instagram account too for a heads up on what each week’s class will entail.

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