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Self-confidence, public speaking & social skills through Drama


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Term 1 2014

 

The focus of Marrzipan Drama in Term 1, 2014 is “self-belief”. This is the founding for becoming a confident performer or public speaker…and helps you out in all other areas of life too!

 

I am sure you can think of someone you know who is terrified at the thought of public speaking, or who lacks self-confidence and belief in themselves. Our aim this term is to ensure that none of our students ever doubt themselves! We want our students to develop into happy, confident children and thus well-rounded and confident adults!

 

Every student will have a different goal. For some, simply getting up on stage may be a massive achievement, for others, learning lots of lines will be a great success. Whatever it is, Marrzipan Drama teachers notice what is a “big deal” for students, and help them to achieve their goals.

 

How can you help as parents? There is no one, easy answer for this. It is a combination of lots of smaller things. Here are some ideas to help:

 

  1. Your own attitude. Children are very receptive to others, and pick up on moods or personalities quickly. Be the confident, animated, happy person you would like them to be, and they will pick up on your energy!
     

  2. Positivity. I have sometimes experienced the situation where a parent chats to me after class, and laments about all the things their child can’t do… “He is so shy, he can’t speak in front of people, he won’t listen, he gets scared.” Often when the parent is talking like this, the child is stood right next to them, absorbing all of this negativity, and reinforcing the idea that he is incapable of being any different. Positive reinforcement will make the world of difference. Constantly tell your child that they “can do” anything they put their mind to. If they think they can’t do something, tell them they can and encourage them to do it – then PRAISE them when they succeed!!
     

  3. Affirmations. I know self-help books love this one, and it can sound a bit ‘wacky’, but wow, this works! When your child does something particularly awesome for them (perhaps going along to a new drama class for the first time), have them repeat a sentence out loud after you, e.g. “I feel confident to try new things.” Then watch the big smile that appears on their face afterwards!

 

These few tricks, implemented into your daily life, will help your child to develop a deep belief in themselves. This will build upon the positivity they are receiving in class from their Marrzipan Drama teacher.

 

The goal by the end of term, as always, is for you as parents to actually notice a difference in your child. We want your child to have developed a belief in themselves that they “can do” whatever they put their mind to – including performing at the end of term!

 

I look forward to hearing some wonderful feedback from parents at the end of term, who are amazed at the deep confidence and strong self-belief of their child.

 

Have a great term!

Davina.

 


Term 4 2013

 

The focus of Marrzipan Drama in Term 4, 2013 is “body language”. Students should be able to develop these skills by building on the confidence they have developed in Term 1, the eye contact they learnt about in Term 2, and the ability to use their voices effectively, which they learnt in Term 3.

 

New students in Term 4 are encouraged to become more confident through regular praise and reassurance, at the same time as learning to have a confident stance, and feel confident at the same time.

 

Marrzipan Drama teachers will continue building the confidence of all students by being positive and reassuring them that they “can do” whatever they believe they can do: this is the foundation of Marrzipan Drama!

 

Studies show that 93% of communication is non-verbal – which is everything your body is doing while you speak. It’s all well and good to say things perfectly, but if you don’t look like you believe in what you’re saying, or look like you’re unsure of it, the message will be lost.

 

It is very easy for students, particularly those in a group production who are waiting for their line, to slip out of character and lose that all-important confident body language. Particularly in the younger ones, it can be very challenging to make them aware of their bodies! At Marrzipan Drama, we aim to teach them to be aware of themselves and the people around them.

 

The focus point to teach body language awareness this time around is status. Usually, most school students don’t come across this term until high school drama yet it is a very powerful concept that when taught early, can really impact a student’s performance skills.

 

Status refers to how ‘high’ or ‘low’ or ‘in between’ a character is: ask your child who’s ‘more important’ or ‘has more power’ – a dog or a cat? A mum or a child? A doctor or a patient? You don’t see a Doctor or a famous actor walking around slumping, do you?

 

The concept of status can be a tricky one to grasp, so we introduce it slowly through games. Encourage your child to practice their lines in front of a mirror or film themselves on a webcam/Ipad – what are their hands doing? Fidgeting or staying still? Are they slouching or standing up straight? Is their body matching their words?

 

Nerves have a huge role to play in producing bad body language, so it is important to tackle issues of stage fright or shyness to overcome this. Please feel free to get in touch with your child’s Marrzipan Drama teacher if your child is at all worried about performing.

 

Praise good body language and encourage students to become aware of the body language of others when out in public (at the supermarket, car park, beach). Your constant praise and encouragement at home makes a massive difference in encouraging this lifelong skill.

 

The goal by the end of term as always, is for you, the parents, to actually NOTICE a difference in your child. We want your child to have developed a belief in themselves that they “can do” whatever they put their mind to, and that they can not only sound confident, but look confident at the same time – which is truly the most important part!

 

I look forward to hearing some wonderful feedback from parents at the end of term, who are amazed at their young child’s confident new look!

 

Have a great term!

 

Davina Marr

Director Marrzipan Drama

 


Term 3 2013

 

The focus of Marrzipan Drama in Term 3, 2013 is “voice skills”. Students should be able to develop these skills; building on the confidence they have developed in Term 1 and the ability to have clear eye contact, which they learnt in Term 2.

 

New students in Term 3 are encouraged to become more confident through regular praise and reassurance, continuing the skill of good eye contact and developing their new voice skills. New students will have all of the above explained to them!

 

Having a clear voice, full of expression, and projecting it well, is a difficult skill to master! It is very frustrating to watch what looks like a wonderful performance/presentation/speech, but not be able to hear or understand what the actor/speaker is saying! Whilst looking confident and having good eye contact with the audience is important, it is wasted unless the audience can also hear what is being said.

 

We all know that children have no problem being loud when they are running around playing, so we know that they are capable of speaking up! The trick is to get them to speak loudly in front of an audience, without resorting to shouting the whole time!

 

The focus for voice skills in Marrzipan Drama falls into 4 categories: - Clarity/diction (speaking clearly) - Volume (speaking at the suitable volume, whether a stage whisper, speaking voice or shouting) - Projection (speaking so everyone in the audience can hear) - Expression (how to speak to convey meaning) Developing all these skills makes a world of difference to a performance, and puts so much more meaning into the script, helping the characters to “come alive”.

 

Encourage your child to practice using different voices outside of class – they could try whispering at bedtime, shouting in the garden, speaking clearly to grandma, or projecting their voice in class to their teachers.

 

The goal by the end of term is for you to notice a difference in your child’s voice! Marrzipan Drama wants your child to have developed a belief in themselves that they “can do” whatever they put their mind to, and that they can confidently look people in the eye when communicating with them, speaking clearly with lots of expression.

 

You will probably find that their body language and facial expressions naturally develop as their voice skills improve (it is hard to shout angrily at someone whilst not moving your body and keeping a straight face!) Encourage the body language if you see it emerging at home, although it is not a main focus for this term.

 

Having said that, if there are some students who already have wonderfully clear voices, we will be pushing them further! We may ask them to try putting on an accent, making up a different-sounding voice, or making noises as well as using words.

 

Thank you for your help at home – we couldn’t do it without you!

 

I look forward to hearing some wonderful feedback from parents at the end of term, who are amazed at their young child’s new big, clear voice!

 

Have a great term!

 

Davina Marr

Director Marrzipan Drama

 


Term 2 2013

The focus of Marrzipan Drama in Term 2, 2013 is “eye contact”.

Students should be able to develop this skill; building on the confidence they have developed in Term 1.

 

New students in Term 2 are encouraged to believe that they, too, will be confident by the end of term, just as their friends were at the end of Term 1. Marrzipan Drama teachers will continue building the confidence of all students by being positive and reassuring them that they “can do” whatever they believe they can do.

 

Eye contact is an essential social skill, and one that a lot of adults seem to be lacking! Teaching children at a young age to look people in the eye when they are talking to them, and more importantly, when they are being spoken to, is a valuable life skill. Marrzipan Drama believes this skill is essential in helping this young person to develop into a wonderful adult!

 

The eye contact to focus on in Marrzipan Drama falls into 2 categories: - Eye-contact with other actors - Eye-contact with the audience Developing good eye contact with other actors helps the script to flow better. It reflects relationships between characters, and tends to aid in remembering lines and cues!

Eye contact with the audience can be more daunting! This is where the confidence comes in. It takes a lot of confidence to stand up and perform with hundreds of eyes on you, it takes even more confidence to then look all those people in the eye and ‘connect’ with them.

 

Encourage your child to practice good eye contact outside of class – it could be to their friends, their teachers, parents or the ice-cream man!

 

Marrzipan Drama’s goal by the end of term is for you to actually notice a difference in your child, for your child to have developed a belief in themselves that they “can do” whatever they put their mind to, and that they can confidently look people in the eye when communicating with them.

 

Whilst it would also be great if students could speak clearly, project their voice, have wonderful body language and facial expressions, and remember all their lines, this isn’t our main focus this term. We can develop all these things over time, but at the root of it all is confidence and being able to translate that confidence into powerful eye contact.

 

Those students that have already mastered this skill will be pushed further – either with the other skills above, or by asking them to incorporate dramatic, long silences into their performance, where all they have to do is look at the other actor/audience. Getting a reaction or a laugh when not actually speaking can be very rewarding as an actor!!

 

I am sure you all have your own tricks and ideas for how to teach this at home – your support makes a massive difference so thank you in advance!

 

I believe that we are all really making a difference here by teaching this skill.

 

Here’s to a great term filled with confidence and eye contact!

 

Davina Marr

Director Marrzipan Drama

 


February 2013

 

The start of the New Year has seen a lot of exciting changes in Marrzipan Drama!

 

We have recently appointed one of our senior teachers, Julie Comerford, as our Client Manager. At Marrzipan Drama, we realise how important it is to look after all out current parents and schools, not just to focus on new business. With so many new clients joining each term, it became apparent that we needed someone who is dedicated to ensuring the needs of all our wonderful parents, students and school are met. Julie will ensure that there is constant communication between Marrzipan Drama and yourself - if you have any questions at all, she is the person to speak to!

 

Another promotion has seen Emma Davison become our Education Manager. Emma will be creating all the Marrzipan Drama lesson plans and even writing some of our scripts, alongside myself, with input from other teachers. As with last year, each lesson will have a particular focus - students should be able to explain to their family what they got up to in class, when they get home each week. Emma will also personally email updates to all parents of what was covered in class each week. If you have any questions about your child's dramatic development, please get in touch with Emma and she will be able to provide you with some feedback.

 

Marrzipan Drama is also excited to be in talks with several schools in the Wellington region! It seems that "Hobbit Fever" has spread all around Wellington and we have lots of young students keen to test out their dramatic abilities, in Marrzipan Drama's reassuring and supportive environment. We look forward to teaching you all soon and seeing you flourish!

 

We would like to give a special shout-out to one of our students, Xavier Miller who is 8 years old. Xavier attended the January Holiday Workshop and his Mum sent me this fabulous video that he created...all in the aid of trying to catch the attention of his idol Australian Artist, Reece Mastin. It had me smiling from ear-to-ear and laughing at points too - I hope you enjoy it!

 

 

 

As you can see, Xavier does not suffer from shyness! Which is also Marrzipan Drama's focus for Term 1 - "confidence". We believe that having confidence enables you to do lots of things that you never thought possible, and is also a skill that even a lot of adults lack. By ensuring all our students increase their confidence this term, we hope this will have a 'knock on' effect and benefit them in every other area of their school and private lives. 

 

Our focus as a team is to ensure we are providing the best possible service to you that we can. As always, I welcome any feedback you may have and look forward to a fantastic 2013!

 

Davina

Marrzipan Drama Director

 
 

As this busy year draws to a close, all our performances are now taking place at various schools and daycares across Auckland. Good luck to all our students performing - we just know you will do great!

 

I have been very proud to see so many of our students increase in both ability and self belief. To see the look on a child's face after they have just performed in front of their whole school is truly priceless. Our teachers often ring me to tell me of a particularly moving or special moment they have been a part of or witnessed. 

 

One moment that tugged at my heart most this year, was of a young student of ours with physical disabilities. After being told by friends that she couldn't do Drama due to her physical limitations, she worked hard all term and ended up actually using her physical attributes to her advantage when performing - working with what she has rather than against it. It was truly inspiring, and I was very humbled to witness such confidence from such a young and brave student.  

 

We look forward to experiencing the same advancements, inspirations, fun and excitement next year, with the addition of new schools in the Wellington region. 

 

Marrzipan Drama would like to wish all our students and their families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

We have some exciting changes planned for 2013 and look forward to sharing these with you.

 

Thank you for your continued support - have a lovely break!

 

Davina

Marrzipan Drama Director

 


July 2012

It might still be chilly outside, but that is not dampening Marrzipan Drama’s spirit!

 

Our Holiday Workshop at the Pumphouse Theatre in Takapuna was an enormous hit! Feast you eyes on our latest and greatest clip by our talented students – courtesy again of talented parent, Max Whitehead!

 

 

 

With the recent crowning of our Manager, Collette Lochore as Miss World 2012, we believed it would only be appropriate to hold our very own “Miss Marrzipan Drama”. The main aim was to showcase ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ and help contestants to think about inner-beauty. Collette emphasised that, “the stereo-typical perception of pageants today is far from the truth, in fact, near the opposite.” Her goal is to build this awareness and allow New Zealanders to understand the true meaning behind the crown. The Miss Marrzipan Drama contestants managed to raise nearly $2000 for Variety the Children’s Charity – we couldn’t be prouder! A special well done to Molly who was crowned “Miss Marrzipan Drama 2012”, and to Grace who was crowned “Miss Beauty with a Purpose”, after donating lots of her own money to the charity. I am so proud to put our name to such a worthy cause, and we thank the PumpHouse Theatre for their continued support.

 

Marrzipan Drama classes are continuously expanding due to increasing demand from schools in Auckland and the wider area! If you are a parent / caregiver, student or teacher and would like Marrzipan to come to your school, do get in touch with us by clicking here. We would love to hear from you! Remember, as a thank you for introducing us to your school, your first term of Marrzipan Drama lessons are free!!

 

Keep warm and enjoy the rest of the wintery months ahead!

 

Davina.

Marrzipan Drama Director

 


May 2012

The cold is upon us in the month of May, and the Marrzipan Drama teachers and students are already busy auditioning and rehearsing for our end-of-term performances! We have lots of exciting news this month, with our Manager Collette Lochore being thrust in to the spotlight after winning Miss World New Zealand 2012 (more about this below)! This was followed by one of our students staring alongside her sisters in a Warehouse TV commercial, and a YouTube video created about Marrzipan Drama by one of our dedicated parents, Max Whitehead…

 

Marrzipan Drama has the great pleasure of announcing that our amazing and talented Manager and Head Teacher, Collette Lochore, was recently crowned Miss World New Zealand 2012! She wowed the judges (to say the least) and we couldn’t be more proud to have such a talented beauty on our team! She did Marrzipan Drama proud expressing, “Marrzipan helped with my self-confidence, especially through public speaking, consequently making it a huge factor in winning the overall title.” Marrzipan not only promotes achievements by students, but evidently Marrzipan teachers lead by example! We are all behind Collette for the upcoming Miss World 2012 in China, where she will be the ambassador for New Zealand. Marrzipan Drama will continue to be one of Collette’s main sponsors during this time. All of the classes she has popped into this term have been delighted to see her in her crown and sash!

 

Collette will also be running the “Acting Course” on Saturdays at The PumpHouse Theatre for 11-17 year olds. As Collette’s charity is the “Variety Children’s Charity”, Marrzipan Drama have allocated 4 scholarship places to Variety Children. Variety does a wonderful job working with sick, disadvantaged and disabled children and Marrzipan are humbled to be able to ‘give back’ in this way.

 

Once again, Marrzipan Drama would like to commend our high performing stars. This time, we are delighted to announce that the three Brunton sisters (Molly, Sabrina and Zoe) have done us proud by scoring an advertorial for The Warehouse – NZ’s most beloved department store. What an achievement girls! Their proud mother said the girls spent all day shooting the ad, and loved the overall real filming experience.

 

Marrzipan Drama was also lucky enough to have helpful parent, Max Whitehead, video the April Holiday Workshop performance of his daughter, Paris. It shows the fun and excitement students participate in at the end-of-term 3-day Holiday Workshops at The PumpHouse, with the end results being an awesome performance on stage to an audience. We loved every bit of Max’s video, (including the creative editing) and we hope you do too.  Here's a sneaky peek.... Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Last but not least – if you haven’t already, ‘liked’ us on Facebook...Marrzipan Drama updates will be conveniently posted on your newsfeed, which will be the best way to see what we are up to more regularly! Marrzipan hopes to grow alongside your child, so we continuously endeavour to maintain the highest of standards for our students, teachers and the wider community.

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April 2012

 

Wow! It is the end of Term 1 already! What a great start to the year!

 

First and foremost I would like to send a massive congratulations to our Scholarship Winners Max Harrison and Leon Perry for their outstanding performance, talent and overall enthusiasm in Marrzipan Drama this term! This gifted duo are entitled to 50% off their Marrzipan Drama fees next term, as well as the chance to host the performances at the end-of-term show next term! Additionally, Rush Gosney has received an award for the ‘Most Improved’, Bella Jones for being the ‘First to learn lines’, and Stella Jensen for taking the ‘Best Direction’ this term…all from the lovely Mount Eden Normal Primary School, Auckland. Well done - Marrzipan is extremely proud of you all! The question is, who will be next...?

 

Marrzipan has had a fun- filled and extremely productive Term 1 to say the least! With our new teaching additions Toni, Julie and Laura, I feel extremely privileged to be working with such an amazing and talented team. Toni has done a wonderful job teaching the gifted students at Campbells Bay School (Castor Bay, North Shore) and St Joseph’s School (Takapuna, Northshore) this term, and is looking forward to starting lessons at Sunnybrae Normal School (Hillcrest, North Shore) at the end of April. The students of Westminster Christian School (Unsworth Heights, North Shore) and Mount Eden Normal Primary (Mount Eden, Auckland) are lucky to have had Julie as their teacher this term, with the Treehouse Nursery (Auckland) also benefiting from her calm and patient manner next term. Laura, our newest addition, is thrilled to be taking on the talent at Milford Primary School (Milford, North Shore) and Murrays Bay Intermediate (Murrays Bay, North Shore) next term.

 

As with every term, the Marrzipan Drama team has been given a special end-of-term treat as a thank you for all of their hard work. I am sure you will all agree that they deserve a big pat-on-the-back for the dedication they have shown to your child’s Dramatic development! This term, we all headed off for a spa treatment and dinner in Auckland city! After such a wonderful relax, we are ready and eager for next term to get underway!

 

On that same note, I am ecstatic to announce that Collette (due to continually setting herself the highest of standards) will now hold the new and exciting role of the Marrzipan Drama Teacher Trainer. In this role, she will oversee the Marrzipan Drama teachers, regularly popping in to lessons to ensure that our high standards of teaching (and fun!) are not only met, but exceeded! Collette is overjoyed to commence her new position with the implementation of an ongoing Training and Teaching Programme for Marrzipan Drama teachers.

 

I am also excited to mention that our April Holiday Drama Workshop is now taking place at the wonderful Pumphouse Theatre in Takapuna. Students will get the chance to develop their own script and set, as well as rehearse and then perform in a REAL THEATRE! In Term 2, Marrzipan Drama will also be offering students aged from 11- 15 the chance to take part in our Acting Courses at the PumpHouse Theatre

 

Please email us for more info or to secure your child’s space in any of these Drama activities – as always, we are limiting spaces to 12 per class.

 

With such a positively productive first term, I am eagerly anticipating the rest of 2012! May I personally wish you all a lovely Easter break.

 

Davina Marr (Marrzipan Drama Director)

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February 2012

Welcome to the start of another wonderful year for Marrzipan Drama!

With our first ever Holiday Workshop completed, we are looking forward to getting stuck into our lessons this term! Great fun was had by all at the Holiday Workshop - with the children creating, directing, designing set and costumes, and performing in their own play, which they named "Mermaid Hunters". I think parents will agree that the students did a great job and that the Workshop was a great activity to get stuck into before the start of term! Places are already filling up fast for the next Holiday Workshop so get in now to secure your space for the end of Term 1 (April 2012).

We also have limited spaces left for our Drama lessons that take place in schools each term. If your child already attends a Marrzipan Drama school and has not signed up yet for Term 1 - please email us as soon as possible!

With lots of schools on the North Shore now signed up to Marrzipan Drama, (including those in Takapuna, Devonport, Silverdale and Northcote), we have had lots of parents email us their interest for Speech and Drama lessons in schools that are city-side! If your child's school is not yet one of the schools we currently teach at, please just email us and we will arrange a meeting with your school to get Speech and Drama lessons underway. It's as simple as that!

Here's to a Drama filled Term 1!

Davina Marr
(Marrzipan Drama Director)

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December 2011

 

As the first year of Drama classes for children at Marrzipan Drama draws to a close, I cannot help but look back at how far we have come!! It is with great pleasure that I recall all the after-school lessons we are now providing at so many wonderful schools in Auckland and the North Shore. The teachers and I are all very excited about next year and we have lots of new ideas planned.

 

A big ‘well done’ to our teacher, Collette who will be our ‘Team Leader’ next year. Collette will be helping out with all the performances so many of you will get to meet her soon. She is a natural with the children and very entertaining to work alongside!

 

We are particularly excited about our first Holiday Workshop. Collette and I spent a fun afternoon trying out games and coming up with creative ideas that has resulted in an action-packed 3 days of Drama! Children will be guided into creating their own play from scratch, deciding upon costumes for their characters, designing the set, acting, directing and so much more! The Drama Workshop is an ideal Christmas present if you want to avoid the madness at the shops!

 

The Drama Workshop will take place towards the end of January (30 Jan-1Feb). This should help out some parents who are back at work by this date, but still want their child to be having a fun holiday, rather than just being stuck in childcare! For more info about our Holiday Workshops, click here.

 

We are also proud to announce the launch of our Facebook page!  Pop onto the page and have a look around (there are some sneaky pics from the Marrzipan Drama Christmas Party at the performance of The Twits). If you ‘like’ us, you will be in with the chance to win either a free session at the Holiday Workshop, or a free term of Drama lessons next year!

 

I would like to thank you all for your continuing support of Marrzipan Drama, and wish you a fun-filled 2012.

 

Davina.

(Marrzipan Drama Director)

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September 2011

Welcome to the first Marrzipan Drama blog! So much seems to be happening at the moment that I thought this would be a great way to stay in touch with all the Marrzipan Drama students and parents around Auckland and the North Shore.

 

First off, I would like to give a warm welcome to our three new Marrzipan Drama teachers – Jasmine, Laura and Collette. I have had the pleasure of watching all three of these young women teach Drama to various classes and have been in awe to watch the children be so immersed in the lessons they have created. I am looking forward to watching the performances with parents at the end of term!

 

A big well-done to one of our Marrzipan Drama students, Samara Blackwell from St Leo’s School in Devonport, who is in the cast of The Wizard of Oz - showing at The Civic this September. I have already got my tickets! If you would like to see Samara in action, you can get your tickets by CLICKING HERE.  We are very proud of you Samara!

 

Finally, I would like to wish all our Drama students good-luck for the up-coming performances to their after-school care groups, their school, and their supportive friends and family. If anyone needs a hand with costume ideas, feel free to give me a bell, as we now have quite an extensive Marrzipan Drama costume and props wardrobe! I look forward to seeing you all at the performances!

Davina.

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