COLLEAGUES who bonded over their love of performing arts have launched a new stage school in Basingstoke.

Hilary Clay and Joshua Dixon met whilst working at The Anvil in Basingstoke, where they have both worked for the last seven years.

The pair are both passionate about performing arts and involving young people, and decided to launch Starlight Stage School, offering after school classes for children in junior school aged seven to 11.

The team held their first class in February and are running three sessions a week based in Hatch Warren, Chineham and Hook.

Hilary, 39, said the classes offer something different to other theatre companies, explaining: “Our classes are for any children not just those with a love of acting and singing. Along with inspiring children with performing arts we are looking at things from a slightly different perspective. We are looking at child development and the benefits of participating in performing arts can have on children and their development.

“Through performing arts activities, children can gain confidence and social skills and gain a better understanding of the world around them.”

The classes aim to build children’s self-confidence, boost concentration, improve language and listening skills, gain team building skills and inspire creativity and imagination.

The sessions will involve performing arts games, exploring movement, voice and improvisation techniques along with exercises including characterisation, script work, music and mime.

Each term will focus on a new theme such as Roald Dahl, fairy tales or pantomimes.

Joshua, 25, said: “Teaching drama has always been a huge passion of mine. Having taught for other theatre companies in the past, I am now excited to be running my own stage school with Hilary.”

He added: “Inspiring children and introducing them to the joy of performing arts is very rewarding and we are starting to see the potential in children right from the very first session. We are excited to see how performing arts can enhance a child’s development and really boost their confidence and improve social skills.”

Hilary hopes her qualifications will bring a unique aspect to the stage school, explaining: “Throughout my life I have always been passionate about performing arts and am very excited to be running a stage school with Josh. Bringing in my child development knowledge from my psychology degree gives us a unique perspective when developing our performing arts classes.”

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