So we started Extraordinary Kids 4 years ago because our kids wanted an outlet for their enthusiasm for musical theatre but we couldn’t find anything that wasn't stagey or hierarchical that taught all 3 disciplines, singing, dance and drama without horrendously long end of year concerts.
We did the old “ if I were to start a school i’d do this… “ My particular thing was “ Not have long concerts” so we made them short. We approached it from the point of view of the parents as much as the kids and threw out the notion that we are going to make you a star.
So 4 years on, we are still at the Deepdene Uniting Church Mondays and Wednesdays. We still have the same ethos. Over time we have started to theme each of the terms. (This year there’s a fairy tale theme. ) There’s a lot of Disney and some songs from Sondheim’s Into the woods!
We have started to use microphones for the songs and skits in the concerts too. we have built up a whole system that we now use for our own gigs. In case you didn’t know Beccy and i are performers our selves - Opera singers by trade.
When we started there was a huge percentage of kids from Deepdene Primary school. That’s probably because our kids go to Deepdene Primary and a lot of parents and friends got wind that we were starting a performing arts program and decided to tag along.
Now we have a broad cross section of kids from a lot of local schools: Kew East Primary School, Kew Primary, Doncaster Primary school, Birralee, Balwyn North Primary, Balwyn Primary, Ringwood Primary, Mont Albert primary school,Kew East, Boroondara Park Primary ,Ivanhoe Primary, Camberwell girls grammar school, Deepdene PS, OLGC, Deepdene, Kew East Ps, Mont Albert primary, Our Lady of perpetual help, Mont Albert Primary School, St Gregory the Great, Greythorn Primary School, BALWYN NORTH, Xavier ,and Chattham Primary School to name just a few. That is an incredibly broad cross section of schools.
We actually have a lot of kids that come from Richmond West primary and Richmond primary. There’s also a couple of kids that come from Ivanhoe as well.
I honestly don’t know how they found us because schools are very protective these days and wont endorse extra curricular activities and lets face it theres a lot of drama programs, dance programs singing school, musical activities in the South Eastern Suburbs. I think this is only going to grow as the population grows. It’s fantastic for kids whose English is their second language too. We have a lot of gorgeous Asian kids who attend at the moment. It’s a real cultural melting pot.
It is very rewarding to see all of the kids coming on their own and being creative and having fun with a whole lot of kids from different schools. There’s something about the performing arts that breaks down boundaries. The games we use are usually ice -breakers and we spend a lot of time laughing. Its a great bonding agent.
It’s great to hear the singing come out of the singing studio too. The kids go ape over Into the woods. The great thing about that for me is I love the show. It’s really sophisticated Musical theatre at it’s very best. It’s one of the first shows i was exposed to when I was a student at the Western Australian Academy of Performing arts. If we don’t churn out stars ( thats certainly not the aim) One thing I sincerely hope is that we do create great audience members and patrons of the performing arts.
I can honestly say that my life has greatly been enriched through the performing arts. I’d like to see the kids get the same benefit