Gold Coast resident Veronica Wnuk has founded a new theatre school in Tugun, giving local children a new outlet to release their creative energy.
The theatre school, which is known as Sun Stage, allows children aged from two to 16 to get active in introductory classes that involve creativity, character building and performing.
“I wanted to give kids a place to explore their imaginations outside of school,” Ms Wnuk said.
She said so far the classes had been a success.
“Classes have been going wonderfully well!” Ms Wnuk said.
“At Tugun, our juniors have started working on their play, Jack and the Beanstalk, and our younger groups have been doing some work on puppetry,” she said.
Sun Stage opened in mid-July and has been careful to adhere to the current COVID-19 social-distancing and safety guidelines.
Ms Wnuk, who has been involved in dance and drama since the age of 10, said she had always wanted to start her own theatre school.
But she said it was the combination of the coronavirus pandemic hitting and going on maternity leave from her job as a drama teacher that gave her the chance to put her plans into action.
Ms Wnuk brings a lot of experience to her stage school, having worked as a rehearsal director for Stage School Australia in Melbourne before moving to Queensland six years ago.
She taught drama for the company’s Youth Theatre and Broadway Chorus courses, and worked with upwards of 250 students each week at their venues across Melbourne.
Ms Wnuk, who has a young son of her own, said she appreciated how important it was for children to keep physically activity and make friends with similar interests.
She said having connections with other local mothers had helped her create a “unique” performing arts program that was different to other classes offered on the coast.
“There’s plenty of performing arts on the Gold Coast, but I was able to tap into something different with my passion,” Ms Wnuk said.
Ms Wnuk said the theatre school was particularly good for younger children aged three to six who needed a good activity to get involved in.
Sun Stage offers a range of classes catering to differing age ranges and skill levels.
The classes range from sessions to encourage imaginative play and confident speech for two to three-year olds, to advanced classes in improvisation, character development and vocal technique for students in the 13 to 16 year old age range.
Ms Wnuk said she had already received positive feedback from parents who said the theatre school was a “great” outlet for their kids, which enabled them to “meet like-minded children”.
Mum Stacie, whose son Kieran has just joined the Sun Stage classes, said the experience was helping him become more confident.
“He is a little shy amongst new people, so I wanted to try and boost his confidence and allow him to express his personality,” Stacie said.
“Veronica was so welcoming and made him feel so comfortable,” she said.
“He was able to join in straight away and had a smile on his face the whole time.”
“He loves to teach me the games he played during class time and is always looking forward to the next class!”
Ms Wnuk is looking to expand her Sun Stage to Kingscliff in October in line with the start of term four, but said these plans might be put on hold depending on how the situation with COVID-19 develops.
“We’re trying to achieve as much as we can, even with the current restrictions,” she said.
“I hope to work towards a performance at the end of the year.”
For the meantime, classes will continue at Tom Atkin Hall at 433 Golden Four Drive, Tugun.
Sun Stage will hold an open day during the September school holidays to give prospective students a chance to try out the classes before the start of term 4.
For more information visit the Sun Stage website.