| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

What a drama

Nerves are in the air at the latest performance of Kids Theatre Works! Karen Iley goes backstage and talks to the little stars

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Celeste admits she struggled with this. ‘Sometimes I say other people’s lines out loud without meaning to,’ she confesses, her nose two inches away from mine. ‘I can say the whole play!’

What about stage fright? Were they not nervous? ‘When you go on stage it feels like the end of your life,’ says seven-year-old Sade Shonibare, still, we feel, in dramatic mode. Maria Goncharova, aged eight, explains: ‘Yes, when you say the first line it’s the end of your life but when you say your third line all your life comes back again.’ ‘And when you walk on stage it’s like your legs have no bones,’ adds Sade, determined we get the message of just how brave they all are.

How do they feel afterwards? On top of the world, naturally, although some have a few reservations. Taymour Kermanshahchi, seven, was worried about his appearance as a talking stone and thought ‘everyone would burst out laughing’, while lead Hugo Barnett, whose lines include an ‘embarrassing’ poem, is still concerned he may come in for a ribbing from his mates. ‘My best friend was there. I could see him and my sister. That put me off a little bit, especially when I saw them laugh. I don’t know if my friend will tease me. I hope not.’

We hope not, too. These kids – as well as the grown ups who instruct them and the parents who encourage them – are justifiably proud. ‘The kids come away with a great sense of achievement, a great sense of pride and self-worth,’ says Emily Madghachian, artistic director of Kids’ Theatre Works!. ‘It’s not just the traditional confidence building they come away with; drama builds an extraordinary foundation in life skills. The incredible thing for them is that they are learning accountability and responsibility. They’re working in groups, they’re listening to each other, they’re using their creativity and their imaginations in a group scenario and they’re relying on each other in order to make the show happen.’

Yes, there are challenges; never work with kids and animals is a truism. But Kids’ Theatre Works! ensures the children are well prepared for the task at hand. ‘While they learn that drama is fun, they also learn that it’s a job,’ says Emily, ‘a job that takes hard work and dedication.’

With thanks to performers Hugo Barnett, Freya Crawford, Maria Goncharova, Skye Rose Grimley, Ella and Taymour Kermanshahchi, Vishai Kumar, Celeste Maawad, Nameer al Shabibi, Sade Shonibare and Kayla and Mateo Vieujot.
Kids’ Theatre Works! runs drama courses for children aged four to 18 years. Find out more by calling 050 1585 653 or email hello@kidstheatreworks.com.

By Karen Iley
Time Out Dubai,

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