Cliftonville-based Star Stage School has celebrated its 15th birthday with a get together of students past and present, parents and teachers .
The stage school opened its doors in March 2008 to give local children, whatever their background, the opportunity to sing, dance and perform.
Run by Karen Tarbuck, from Birchington, the focus has always been on enjoyment, encouragement and performance rather than exams.
Karen said: “We are so proud of what we have achieved over the last 15 years. We have performed at the Winter Gardens, Theatre Royal, nursing homes, local events and much more.
“When we created the school, we wanted to run it differently to most other dance schools so decided to only charge for lessons and not to charge the students to take part in shows which includes free others costume hire, rehearsals, photos and videos. We have always been an all-inclusive school embracing all abilities.
“The school has a real family feel with student’s mums training to become show chaperones and fellow teacher Donna Clements’ husband Stuart providing show technical support.”
And the school has been so popular with students that Karen and her team have been able to watch them grow from tots to teenagers.
Karen said: “A few of our student’s started at two years old and stayed with us until they were 16. This is the time they tend to go off with the skills and confidence they have learnt from Star.
“Many go on to study at performing arts colleges or universities or play lead roles in local productions. Some diversify into other creative arts such as photography, special effects makeup or modelling, while go onto to teach at local schools.”
Star Stage School teacher Donna Clements added: “It was an amazing celebration with past students and their children, parents and teachers coming together to join us at our popular performance classes.
“It’s been quite emotional looking back, especially when a tribute was played with special messages from ex-students thanking Karen for all she had done for them. We even had a couple of very special guests from Enchanted Children’s Character Agency come to sing, dance and wish everyone a very happy birthday.”
Star Stage School’s next workshop “Bugsy” will be running in the Easter Holidays between April 3-5.
For more details of how to get involved with the workshop or classes contact Karen on 07976 905811