A drama and dance group at New Cross Community Church is giving local youngsters the chance to shine like stars in Sutton.
The classes are given on Mondays and Fridays by Jane Selby in the church hall where they have staged end-of year productions of Grease, Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat and, most recently, Oliver!.
Jane (28), from Mansfield, who has worked as a performer in Disneyland and a stilt-walker at the Bahrain Grand Prix, founded the group three years ago and now runs a range of similar community projects across the area.
Jane said: “I enjoy seeing how confident the children become and how happy they are when they’re performing.
“I would have loved something like this when I was younger.
“These classes give people who haven’t got a massive income the chance to take part.”
Jane encourages the cast members to help find their own costumes and props - but she is able to ‘beg, borrow and steal’ from friends who run theatre companies.
She said: “Because there’s a lot of younger kids we use a lot of games and improvisations.
“Quite recently I thought the group needed to be a lot more independent so they all sat in a circle and I brought in things like a bottle of perfume and a banana skin.
“They had to come up a storyline based on the objects and perform a short scene where they improvised their own dialogue.”
The club is supported by Julie Cotteril, Fiona Hodgson and Christine Palmer.
However, some lines do need to be learned and help is on hand for people who struggle with their reading.
The church hall on Deepdale Gardens also holds community fairs and film showings and was used by around 18,000 people over the last year.
Jane studied at Northampton University and Sheffield Hallam University and has been running courses for six years.
She also teaches at Bracken Hill School in Kirkby.
There are still places on the drama club course, which is held at New Cross Community Church on Mondays from 4pm to 5.30pm. It costs £1 to attend and is open to youngsters from eight to 18.
The Glee dance group is held at the same time and place on Fridays, costs £2 and there is a waiting list.
Jane said: “I physically can’t get any more kids into the room!”
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