I first joined The Garage when I was aged 13, I was part of the drama class. Although I enjoyed going to them and the tutor was lovely I never felt liked I fit in, this was through no fault of The Garages it’s just, I had just been put into full time care and lacked self-worth and social skills. This was noticed very quickly by my tutor and she suggested that I join this program/class, Creative Foundations, run by Adam. This is where I feel my journey began with The Garage.
I spent 6 months in this class and in such a short amount of time my social skills and selfworth sky rocketed, it felt like I was actually part of something cool and I was getting to hang out with friends every week, it would honestly be one of the things that I would look forward to every week. After the 6 months, I can’t remember if I stayed on in this class or moved to another one but Adam tutored myself and others through getting our Bronze Arts Award.
This was where Adam discovered my love for live theatre. Both myself and Adam were aware that my time with him was coming to an end as I had developed social skills and could function well in a class now but instead of just sending me out to do this he helped my find the musical theatre class run by Cat.
Now, had I have taken part in Cat’s Musical Theatre class a year early I wouldn’t have managed. Cat helped me develop a huge amount of self-confidence and not to worry about sometimes just looking a little bit silly. I went into her class with the attitude of ‘I can just about sing’ but there is no way I could dance… a couple of months later I was outside the front of The Forum performing in a showcase.
So, in less than a year and a half I’d gone from this kid who wouldn’t speak to hardly anyone to “normal” teenager. Although MT was fun and I was enjoying myself I did feel that maybe being onstage wasn’t for me, so I went back to Adam and said “I want to work backstage” or something along those lines and of course he had the perfect thing already available to me, The Garage Youth Forum (although I don’t think it was called that back then). TGYF produce music events, designed by young people to show off young people’s talent. I learnt so much whilst I was with them, like the most basic thing of how to hang a lamp to more complex on the workings of a lighting desk.
I worked on quite a few of their music events called Slam. This is where I met Scooby who I must now give a quick honourable mention. Scooby was never one of my tutors, although he tried to persuade me to join his Street School many times, he helped me in other ways. He was always there just to listen and he was a real big part of me coming out and giving me the confidence to do so.
Back to TGYF, after working on Slam many times I got the chance to work on other music events around Norwich like at the Norfolk showground and the UEA LCR. I was getting knowledge and confidence in working in theatre and my love for it was growing more and more and over last Christmas I got my break and got paid work on Panto at Norwich Theatre Royal.
I have worked there and only there since December until I got offered a tour at the beginning of the year. I am now a full-time theatre technician through hard work but I would have never have made it there had I never been given the time and a chance when I was younger.
So, big thank you to everyone and all at The Garage!