Drama in pyjamas

DRAMA classes for toddlers in Woking are being run online by a young woman who set up the business a few months before the coronavirus lockdown.

Alex Searle, a graduate of the Guildford School of Acting, began a local arm of the national Pyjama Drama classes in September last year.

Alex running a session before the lockdown

She was running interactive sessions for 2-5 year-olds in 12 nurseries in the area, including five in Woking.

The classes make use of small children’s active imaginations and involve stories and role play, to which the children contribute ideas and songs.

Alex now runs the sessions through a Facebook group, with parents and older siblings joining in.

Online club member Kairav

Parents send Alex messages with their children’s ideas and comments and are themselves enjoying the action.

“They absolutely love it and some have said, ‘if we don’t message, that’s because we are so engrossed’,” Alex said.

She runs three live sessions a week with two pre-recorded videos of songs and games. New members are offered a free week and are then charged £3 a week per household.

“The end goal is to keep this going, so that when the lockdown ends Pyjama Drama will still be there.”

One of the nurseries that Alex has worked with is Round and Round the Gardens Childcare in Pyrford and at least 15 children are in the online club.

She became a franchisee for the group, which is based in Wales, after doing a placement with children during her GSA degree.

“I had decided that fulltime acting wasn’t for me and when I worked with the children I thought ‘this is it’. It has proved to be so rewarding. I do miss being with the children now but after the sessions the parents send pictures and comments, which is lovely.”

Joseph takes part in an online session

Alex lived in Guildford before moving to Addlestone with her boyfriend Christopher Gooden, who is a primary school teacher.

He has chronic asthma and so has been at home from the beginning of the pandemic.

Before the lockdown, Alex ran large interactive performances once a month in different venues.

“They were based on popular children’s books and so were always sold out.

“When the lockdown is over, I will put on a free show for everybody who has joined the online club,” she said.

For more information, call 07388 340695 or visit Facebook and search for “Pyjama Drama Online Club (Runnymede, Woking and North Surrey Group)”.

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