It may not yet be widely known but children between 5 and 11 in the Wellington community now have access to invaluable experience of all aspects of performance through the kids’ theatre club, Stage Right.
The brainchild of Keira Lissaman who set up Stage Right in 2016, the club offers stagecraft training during one-hour classes every Wednesday during term-time at Wellington Arts Centre, Eight Acre lane, Wellington. The classes are now so popular that Keira has recruited professional instrumental teacher Erica Bond as her assistant. Keira and Erica provide the children with specific theatre training – including movement, speech, dance, music and improvisation – and help them grow in confidence and awareness as performers.
Keira is the professional lead singer of the Blue Room Baboons, has a long experience as a performer in pantomimes with Wellington Pantomime Group and, as a teenager, with Genesis Youth Theatre and Taunton Young People’s Theatre. She studied Performing Arts and Business Studies at Richard Huish Sixth Form College and is now a busy mum with three children of 14, 12 and 2.
She said, “I started dance training when I was 3 years old here at Wellington Arts Centre and was in my first pantomime when I was 7. I realised a couple of years ago that there was no theatre training available in the town for primary-age children so when they are involved in the pantomime or in Op Soc shows, they are sometimes short of understanding about stagecraft. Genesis Youth Theatre is for pupils in secondary education but there was nothing for younger ones.”
The two groups Keira now runs from 3.45pm to 4.45pm and then from 5pm to 6pm every Wednesday proved so popular that she advertised on social media for someone to help – and Erica joined her, adding experience as a musician and piano teacher alongside her energy and enthusiasm.
Stage Right children made an impression on the audience at ‘Christmas at the Wellesley’ in December for their confidence and skills. Now Keira and Erica are preparing for the group’s first show in July featuring music and dance. The children will also be taking part in the Welliestock Music Festival on 30th June.
From its beginnings just 18 months ago, Stage Right is already adding a valuable dimension to the thriving arts and performance scene in the town.