The motto of Katoomba-based TSH Drama is "express yourself don't repress yourself”.
And during the hour-long classes all students are encouraged to express their talents, and creativity, says the teacher, Tracy Suzanne Hardwick.
Last year Hardwick started working with children and adults with autism and Down syndrome, creating drama and singing programs to uplift and entertain whilst containing therapeutic drama pieces and improvisation.
"Each week I see another talent from the students,” Hardwick said.
“It may have been hiding and then there is the opportunity for it to shine and a safe space for it to be expressed.”
“Although we follow a guideline of rehearsing the same songs each week, as we are preparing for a show in September, the class also dictates the speed, and flow of the lesson."
“The class has a mixture of ages but mainly teenagers. The youngest member is in Year 10, and loves to perform her music and singing. She lights up when she hears the songs and becomes very animated. When doing the acting/improvisation exercises during the sessions an older boy always offers to help. He kindly watches over her, and encourages her to take part in the exercises. It is wonderful to watch how kind and inclusive this group are.
“The girls love to dance too, and we always have fun improvising dance movements and three of them can follow choreographed steps. I have asked them to choreograph one of the numbers and they do this each week.Not every one can dance but they join in with the music and are always included.
“At the end of my first session with them, I followed a gentle relaxation exercise where they relaxed on the floor and focused on their breath, calming down and relaxing before leaving. “
The classes are held in St Hilda’s Church and the minister, Ray Robinson, said he was delighted to have such a vibrant group of young people around the church.
"We're always keen to make our space available for the community, the church always used to be a hub for people gathering, and we're glad to have that happening around St Hilda's in so many ways. It's also a special joy to see Tracy bring the best out of these young people," he said.
TSH Drama specialises in teaching drama, singing, TV and film acting, performance techniques, improvisation, musical theatre, songwriting, performing comedy scripts, elocution and speech and drama to children and adults in the eastern suburbs, Katoomba, and Orange.
Term 3 has just begun. For more information call 0401 969 606 or visit www.tshdrama.com.