Drama for all ages taking centre stage at Chilton St James
The theatre spotlight will be shining on Chilton St James this year.
Starting in February, the school will offer people of all ages the chance to get an internationally recognised theatre qualification, with a series of drama classes for aspiring actors aged eight to adult.
At the end of the course, students will be able to be graded according to London's Trinity College standards.
Chilton St James drama director Lindsey Rusling said getting an internationally-recognised qualification would provide an avenue for people wanting to get involved in the performing arts.
"They can walk into any theatre and if they wanted to move into drama school they have the background and the grades there to prove it," she said.
Over the course of a ten week term, students will spend time learning stagecraft skills and put together a showcase to finish their course off.
A final end-of-year performance will double as an exam for those wanting to get the Trinity College qualification.
"It's so exciting. We really want to encourage that excellence in performance, rather than just playing theatre games."
About 20 people had signed up for the courses already and Rusling wasn't against adding more if the classes filled up.
She will be running five different classes for different age groups. She hoped by mid-year she would be able to add specialist classes too, such as musical theatre and more technically-based courses looking at lighting and stage management.
She also wanted to bring in students from other schools and said she was considering offering scholarships.
Along with Chilton St James principal Kathy Lloyd-Parker, Rusling wanted to grow the theatre scene in Lower Hutt.
"I looked at what was available and out there but there wasn't anything in the Hutt. We have to go into Wellington," she said.
Rusling can't wait for classes to begin, but she reckoned there were a few things she still had left to straighten out.
"It's going to be a lot of fun, but I've got so much to do!"
* Sign up for classes at the Chilton St James website. $150 for children and $200 for adults.