Whether you want to boost your child’s confidence or keep them busy over school holidays, Centre Stage has a programme to suit their needs
Does your child have excess energy to burn? Or, conversely, do you feel like he or she always needs prodding to come out of their shell? Either way, few activities rival the performing arts for developing life skills like communication, teamwork, confidence, imagination and creativity.
Founded by two professional actors from the UK back in 1999, Centre Stage School of the Arts offers a wide range of drama, dance and music programmes for everyone from babies as young as 6 months up to preteens with professional aspirations (the star of the upcoming production of Matilda The Musical at MBS is a Centre Stage student who joined at age 4, for instance). Centre Stage offers an amazing 16 theatre productions a year – and is one of the few arts schools in Singapore to give its students the opportunity to perform in front of live audiences in fully staged productions.
At the heart of Centre Stage’s brilliant programmes is its fantastic staff. All full-time teachers have trained primarily as performers and completed courses in UK, Australian or American drama schools and universities, and many still work in theatre or on TV. Two Centre Stage teachers were recently featured in the worldwide smash Crazy Rich Asians – perhaps you’ve heard of it, mama?
When we tell you Centre Stage offers fab programmes for kids of all ages, we’re not just paying lip service; a number of us on the Sassy Mama team are huge fans of their programmes, across the age spectrum:
Play Stage & Out of the Box: Play-Based Learning for 18 Months+
My daughter Chloé started in accompanied Early Years Creative Play class “Play Stage” at 18 months and had so much fun discovering and exploring in their bright, stimulating, fun, imaginative and safe environment on the East Coast. Centre Stage’s focus on imaginative play (through drama, storytelling, puppets and music) helps build confidence in the children and improve their clarity of speech. You’ll also find plenty of professionally executed and fun arts and crafts activities that are used to encourage both fine and gross motor skills.
Chloé joined the Early Years Creative Play’s drop-off “Out of the Box! Creative Play” classes after she turned 2. At the heart of this curriculum, Centre Stage uses ‘play’ as its mode of delivery. The lovely and very talented and specialised arts teachers (we miss you Ms. Shahnaz and Ms. Hoodadoda!) utilise dramatic play (such as taking your stuffed animal to the vet), along with dance, music making, signing, art making, puppetry, free play and environmental play to nurture the children’s development of important life skills.
We loved that the classes were small (around 6 in Out of the Box!), and that the teachers are incredibly caring towards the children and oh-so-incredibly creative! I am so grateful that Chloé had the chance to develop her confidence, explore and learn through creative play at Centre Stage in those impressive and formative first few years during which she built her individual self.
–Carlijn, Partnerships Manager
Out of the Box is offered four times a week at Centre Stage’s main Woking Road (Portsdown) location, and twice a week on the East Coast. It’s geared toward 2-to-4-year-olds. Click here for more information!
Creative Drama: Ages 3.5 to 12
Like many little girls, my 4-year-old daughter Maggie is very into playing dress-up and creating elaborate backstories for her toys. She also loves going to various performances throughout the year at SRT’s Little Company, ACT 3, Kidsfest, and all the rest. My husband, helper and I – along with Maggie’s teachers – have also observed that she is quite the ham, whether jumping on tables to belt songs out at the top of her lungs, or happily taking the microphone to narrate her class plays.
In short, I had a feeling she’d enjoy herself immensely in a fun and supportive environment that only further encouraged her creativity and imagination. Sure enough, she’s loved her weekly Creative Drama classes with her fabulous teachers Izzy and Georgia. At these weekly drop-off classes the kids play games, sing silly songs, and share their personal triumphs during weekly “news time”. Maggie’s made lots of friends in her class, and while she still asks me on a weekly basis when she will be able to perform on stage, I know the course is laying the perfect foundation for other dramatic pursuits.
One of Centre Stage’s core courses and “the heart and soul” of their ethos, Creative Drama is all about the process (rather than the end performance). Similar to the growth mindset approach, the focus is on the journey rather than the outcome. Kids build essential skills like confidence, communication, quick-thinking, problem-solving and flexibility. In the early years in particular there’s a lot of emphasis on physical movement to build body awareness, along with teamwork and listening (a godsend for the parent of a chatty 4-year-old!). At the next level (ages 5 to 7), kids build on these skills with preliminary drama exercises and an encouraged appreciation of literature, and kids ages 8 to 12 in turn work on honing their acting skills.
-Kate, Senior Editor
Creative Drama is offered throughout the week at both Centre Stage locations. Click here for the full schedule.
On Stage! Musical Theatre for Ages 8 to 12
My 12-year-old daughter loves to perform, loves to sing, loves to dance. When looking for the right class for her, it had to tick all the boxes — a bit of singing, some dancing and acting in a combined class.
The Musical Theatre class at Centre Stage is the right mix of performance drama for kids with singing and dancing thrown in. They have courses that suit different ages and as Maya is 12 years old she had to audition to get into the On Stage! Musical Theatre course for 8-12 year-olds. The audition was to drive home the level of commitment and standard that is required for the course. Maya had to memorise a 5-minute monologue as well as sing her favourite Broadway song. Although a bit nerve-wracking, it gave Maya a sense of what’s expected to get the best out of the course. And she’s loved every minute of it.
We were blown away by her end of year performance. The class performed four pieces of theatre from well-known musicals Cats, Oliver and Wicked. In just a short period of time the class worked hard to bring together a seamless performance that was very well choreographed and entertaining. What Maya came away with was a greater love of performing and confidence in getting up in front of an audience. You absolutely get what you pay for at Centre Stage — it’s not cheap but the level of teaching and the standard of the output will make you a proud parent. I cried at all four performances!
-Andrea, Marketing Manager
On Stage! Musical Theatre is available at both Centre Stage locations. Musical Theatre classes are also available for children from age 3.5; click for more details!
How fun does that all sound, mama?! And as if that weren’t enough, Centre Stage also offers a huge range of holiday camps throughout the year! This November and December, they’re featuring a slate of programmes for kids ages 3 to 12, from multi-activity camps with an arts focus, to one-off workshops and classes with more specialisation. Camps are conveniently offered both on the East Coast and at the main Woking Road location. Prices range from $395 to $720; see below for contact deets, mama! And don’t miss out on their ever-popular Christmas Panto, which is happening 1-2 December at Marina Bay Sands.
If all the world’s a stage, Singapore kiddos are pretty darn lucky to get their start right here!
Centre Stage School of the Arts
Portsdown: 15 Woking Road, Singapore 138694, Tel (+65) 6732 7211
East Coast: 5000G Marine Parade Road, Singapore 449290, Tel: (+65) 6449 6211