Reflecting on Lockdown

With face to face classes on the cusp of returning we take a minute to reflect on the enormity of the past 6 months.

We could never have imagined the impact of lockdown on our theatre school and of course at first it looked like a no win situation. After 16 hugely successful years ATA would have to close its doors. It was an upsetting thought.

It soon became apparent that there was an alternative way to keep classes running. Zoom! At first the prospect was daunting and a little odd. However, with an ATA ‘techie’ at hand in the form of West End production engineer Stuart, we had our own Zoom portal up and running before we had to cancel a single classes! 

Reflecting on the huge success of Zoom, it was a saviour for ATA, for our staff and from the feedback of the many many parents who kindly sent us messages and testimonials, for our pupils too (do have a look at our testimonials page on our website) 

We ran daily morning classes for both juniors & seniors and all pupils had the option to ‘attend’ classes,  albeit online, 3 times a week as well as a chatroom at the end of each class

A massive 225 pupils went on and signed up for the online term and it far exceeded all of our expectations.

We were able to secure some amazingly talented guest teachers and speakers including: 

Charlie Stemp (Mary Poppins) Jodie Steele (Six) Louise Dearman (West End sensation)  Christopher Tendai (Hamilton) Idriss Kargbo (Wicked) Katie Lee (Matilda) Tricia Turner (Dear Evan Hansen) Jacob MacIntosh (Kinky Boots) Ben Heathcote (Lion King) Leila Birch (Eastenders) Jenny Legg (9-5) Layton Williams (Jamie) Jake Davies (Artemis Fowl) Richard Hurst (The Body Guard) Nicky Swift (Mamamia) Joanna Forest (No 1 selling Soprano) As well as children’s director from the London production of School of Rock Alan Bradshaw & Hollywood casting associate Curtiss Frisle. The Mayor of Bexley himself even made a special guest appearance in our chatroom!

On top of this we decided to run an ATA dancathon. Once again we were overwhelmed with the response from our pupils and their families. The day was a huge success and we raised no less than £4680 for the NHS.

The classes were fun, imaginative and engaging and we have to thank our incredible staff team for their adaptability and creative ideas, they weren’t just making the best out of a bad situation, they were 100% leading the way.

As soon as we found out that our exam board LAMDA were reinstating exams via Zoom, we were first in the queue and along with the brilliant support of parents, we successfully prepared 120 pupils for their first online LAMDA exam session. Our pupils were well prepared and excited and the exams, which took 2 days and 5 examiners were a real high point in the term and we are looking forward to a well deserved set of results soon.

The final week of term was a joy! We had put together a junior performance using footage filmed through out the term. It turned out to be an hour and a half’s film which was watched by all of pupils and their family members.

We also held a quiz night/dance off for our senior pupils. Once again the support was over whelming and a fabulous evening was had by all.

We must also mention the brilliant IDTA who have sent us beautiful certificates for all of our pupils to congratulate them for their dedication during lock down.

To conclude. Thank you to all of our pupils and their families, you wholeheartedly embraced our virtual sessions. Your words of encouragement and praise spurred us on and continued to make us push to ensure that our sessions were really leading the way in online training. 

We weren’t just ‘making do’ we were positively and actively offering a fully operational online theatre school with some unforgettable moments that will always be treasured by us all.

Thank you to our ATA pupils and their families who are the heart and soul of our theatre school.

We can’t wait to thank you all in person in September 😁

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