Encouraging young performers to reach for the stars

Encouraging young performers to reach for the stars

Starry-eyed youngsters who aspire to exciting careers in television or on the West End stage, could see their dreams becoming reality, thanks to an innovative Lincoln theatre school.

Just three months after launching The Curious Theatre School, owner and former CBeebies’ presenter Sarah-Jane Honeywell said the popularity of her classes has forced her to move to new premises.

“I used to hold classes in Bailgate Methodist Church Hall, but I grew rapidly to have 60 pupils.  The Church Hall hosts a lot of other regular meetings and clubs, so I had to look elsewhere,” she said:

And Lincoln-based chartered surveyor Banks Long & Co is delighted to have played a pivotal role in her move by showing Sarah-Jane around Wolsey’s Rest in Grantham Street and leasing it to her for The Curious Theatre School’s new home

The actress, who played Empress Seksis in Dark Crystal (Netflix), and who is married to ex-Emmerdale actor Ayden Callaghan (Joe Roscoe in Hollyoaks), have two sons, Phoenix (four) and Indiana Fox (two), and it’s been a whirlwind since they moved to Lincoln just over four months ago.

They have family in Retford, but Lincoln cast its spell, and the couple were keen to make their city their home and enjoy a different pace of life after the bustle of living in London and, earlier, Liverpool.

Now Sarah-Jane is fulfilling her passion for honing the talents of wannabee stars of the stage, theatre and television by giving them expert tuition by tutoring a variety of classes in a theatre school, which has it own unique identity.

And she has already signed-up three special patrons who she is confident will add extra glitz to her venture.

Banks Long & Co Surveyor James Lockwood with Sarah-Jane’s family – son Phoenix, Sarah-Jane, her husband, actor Ayden Callaghan and their other son Indiana Fox

They are comedian and actor Joe Pasquale; residential director of the West End Show School of Rock Alan Bradshaw – who Sarah-Jane hopes will lead some workshops – and actor John Partridge (Celebrity MasterChef winner 2018) who formerly played Christian Clarke in EastEnders.

“We have lots of great contacts and we wanted to bring a flavour of the London stage to Lincoln.  We feel it is hard for aspiring youngsters with talent and ambition to achieve their full potential in this field when they live north of the M25,” said Sarah.

“I really wanted to open a theatre school which caters for youngsters between the ages of two and 18-years-old and offers them the chance to do ballet and other dancing disciplines, drama, music and even contortion.  I wanted it to be creative and inspirational for young people, including those with special educational needs.

We will also have sessions for adults in the near future, with script writing, directing and acting classes for all ages.

“When I was shown our upper floor premises in Grantham Street, I immediately fell in love with them and we were able to get the necessary planning permission to alter them for our needs. We have even added a video editing area and we have a stairlift offering easier access for those with disabilities.

“I want the school to foster a great sense of community because I think that it is very important that the arts are supported by and looked after by members of the community,” said Sarah-Jane, adding that the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) on the University of Lincoln campus has been very supportive of her move.

“At the end of the day, my real aim is to build young people’s confidence by taking a flexible approach to helping their find their role within the performing arts world.”

Banks Long & Co Surveyor James Lockwood said: “I am delighted to that Sarah-Jane has found the former St John Ambulance headquarters ideal for her growing theatre school and also been able to transform the space to the best effect.

“This is an exciting new venture for Lincoln and we wish her every success with her business, which has obviously got off to a flying start.”

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