Deirdre started out teaching one small class of enthusiastic children in a chilly church hall in Lewes in 2003. In those early days, she often brought her baby Callum along and taught the children carrying him on her hip (he wasn't that keen on going to anyone else in those days!) Word soon spread and more children joined the fun. Then a group of parents asked if she would set up an Infant drama class, she did just that and the company began to evolve.
Fast forward several years and Kaleidoscope now encompasses a wide range of weekly drama, movement and dance classes, performing arts holiday workshops, weekend workshops and our popular annual Summer School. We now have a team of dedicated staff and our reputation is second to none. We are famous for our inventive, visually stunning, large scale productions, like Peter Pan, The Tempest and Arabian Nights. These productions allow all of our students to have a good part, work as a team with others of all ages and particpate in a truly theatrical experience. We are now planning our next big show which will be performed in Lewes next year.
In 2013 Kaleidoscope were chosen as the performing arts partners of Priory School in Lewes and we continue to work closely with pupils and teachers at Priory, offering weekly after school classes to Priory pupils and participating in the school's dance shows and musicals. Our staff also lead performing arts workshops in Priory School.
It took a long time to come up with the company name as Deirdre wanted something that would appeal to children and sounded playful, and creative. Eventually she chose the name as she clearly remembered finding a kaleidoscope in her Christmas stocking when she was a child and spending hours gazing at the magical shapes inside it and being enthralled at how she could create new patterns. After Deirdre had learnt how to spell 'kaleidoscope' properly, she registered the company!
Our Unique Curriculum is written by our founder and artistic director, Deirdre, who has over twenty years experience as a drama teacher and drama examiner. She has used her many years teaching experience, her Drama PGCE (teaching Post Grad) her MA in Theatre Directing to create a unique child-centred curriculum. Every scheme is carefully planned and structured to allow children plenty of opportunities to use their imaginations and develop their creativity whilst exploring a wide variety of characters, stories and scripted plays.
Our focus on social and analytical skills as well as performance skills. At Kaleidoscope we place great emphasis on developing each child's social skills - encouraging active listening, speaking confidently in front of the class and awareness of how tone of voice, facial expression and body language are used when communicating with others. We also encourage our students to analyse their own work and give positive feedback to others in class, so everyone is always encouraged to achieve their best and improve their work as they go, at their own pace, in a supportive, encouraging environment.
Using the performing arts to boost confidence. As each term progresses we love to watch each child blossom as they enhance their performance skills and boost their confidence. Children who attend our classes regularly tend to stand out by being personable, self assured and confident in all they do. They are often more at ease in social situations, more articulate in conversation and, as a result, often do better in the classroom.
Our high standards of behaviour and work. We encourage the children in our classes to respect each other and always behave appropriately. Our teachers have high expectations and encourage students to challenge themselves and work at a high level. We are keen to empower children in the classroom, we frequently encourage them to share their own ideas and have ownership of the work they create, rather than be just told what to do, where to stand and how to say their line.