By POLLY COCKER [email protected]
As the re-make of the smash-hit film Fame hits the cinema, a British resident of the Algarve has taken the opportunity to offer local budding stars an “opportunity of a lifetime” at a Stage School workshop.
Barbara Fruish, who has worked as a teacher in the International School São Lourenço for the last five years, felt that while she and her family love living in the Algarve, there is a lack of extra-curricular activities for children.
“My eldest daughter wants to act,” said Barbara, “and there is a lack of opportunity for that in the Algarve. So, we decided to send her to a theatre workshop run by Carol Godby in Manchester in the UK.”
And now Barbara is setting up her own Stage School in the Algarve with the help of Carol, who has nearly 20 years of experience in theatre training and workshops.
“I can’t stress enough how lucky I am to have Carol on board. She is an inspirational lady and has so much expertise and advice to give to young aspiring actors in the Algarve.”
The Carol Godby Theatre Workshop is the largest independent drama workshop outside London.
Carol is a leading agent in the UK, with strong connections in Granada TV Studios guaranteeing her students roles in popular British soaps.
“Right now Carol is thrilled because one of her students has made it to the final 12 contestants in the X Factor,” said Barbara.
Barbara is running a drama workshop during half term, from October 26 to 30, and students will have classes in drama, singing and dance.
“It really is a fantastic opportunity for kids who want to perform. Carol will give classes in audition techniques, script writing and directing. At the end of the week, the students will film their own mini movie,” she said.
“As well as learning so many new skills, they will build confidence, self esteem and team work skills, which aren’t stressed enough in school. Overall, everyone will have loads of fun!”
Barbara has more plans for the future.
“If the workshop is successful, I want to run classes every Saturday with local dance, acting and singing instructors. I’m also hoping to introduce LAMDA exams in the Algarve, which would be a fantastic opportunity for young actors here to gain a world recognised and prestigious qualification,” she said.
Recent developments in the cinema industry in the Algarve come as exciting news for Barbara.
“This is a major leap forward for the film industry in Portugal. It’s great because it means after Stage School, the kids won’t have to go to England to pursue an acting career,” said Barbara. “There’s no reason why my students can’t be extras in the Brad Pitt blockbuster next summer!”
So far, Barbara has had interest in her acting workshop from students at the International School São Lourenço, but she is keen for more students from other schools to get involved too.
“It’s an ambitious project,” Barbara admitted, “but my dream doesn’t stop here. Eventually I want my Stage School to have both international and Portuguese students.
“Next summer I also hope to get auditions for my actors with the popular Portuguese soap Morangos com Açúcar.”
Barbara’s Stage School will be held in Aquashow studios in Quarteira and children between the ages of eight and 16 can attend. The cost is 175 euros for the week. For more information contact Barbara Fruish at [email protected] or call 936 237 531.