Theatricool Performing Arts School opens its doors in Colchester on Saturday 5th September, so I’ve invited the school’s owner and principal, Sally Fisher, to tell us more about her new studio and what her vision is for its use.
Ben Howard

As a young girl in the 70’s I chanced upon a dusty old book which belonged to my mother. Having no computers, iPads or social media in those days I found one of my greatest pleasures was getting lost in a book, entering a fantasy land and imagining the characters as they were brought to life in my brain. The book in question was called “The Swish of the Curtain” by Pamela Brown, first published in the 1940’s. It was all about a group of children with a passion for theatre who with their various skills took a church hall and turned it into a small community theatre. That story has stayed with me all my life and ironically has actually become my life as you will find out later.

At various times in my life there are many things that have influenced me along the way… the “Fame” TV programme of the 1980’s ( I still have the Lycra catsuits and leg warmers to prove it!) stepping onto the Mercury Theatre stage for the first time at 14 years old and just knowing this was where I belonged, being a founder member of CO2 (Colchester Operatic Society’s group for young people) working at The Mercury Theatre box office and chaperoning the panto (starring Hugh Bonneville of Downton Abbey fame!), doing my degree at 43 at Colchester Institute, appearing in my first professional pantomime as a Fairy Godmother, starting Theatricool as a truly independent and local theatre school, the list goes on and on. Safe to say as you can probably guess, I have “the bug” not an ailment but a thing that only those who have experienced being a performer or an artist can really understand, it’s there deep inside you and once it has you it never leaves.

So back to the present and the purpose of this blog, for those who don’t know Theatricool Performing Arts School started in 2009, my vision was to create a school with no barriers. Where children of all ages could come and perform regardless of their ability and have loads of fun at the same time! Happily my dream has become a reality and Theatricool is a thriving school growing year on year!

This year we are taking another leap into the unknown by taking on the lease of our very own studio! It is going to be based in the lovely St Paul’s Hall in Belle Vue Road Colchester, CO1 1AX, a ten minute walk from the town centre, with bus stops nearby and close to North Station.

The hall is a lovely 1940’s built church hall with a little stage and beautiful oak floor, we are installing mirrors and ballet barres and there is a fully equipped kitchen for functions and events. My vision for the hall in the long term is that it becomes a small community based mini arts centre with intimate acoustic gigs, vintage fairs, workshops, arts exhibitions, tea dances, fitness classes, rehearsals for plays and the like.

In the first instance we need to build up our user base so we are looking for like minded individuals who are interested in hiring our space. Obviously being a Theatricool studio we will be doing our own range of classes and events but the hall is available to hire for daytime, evening and weekend slots at very reasonable rates so if you need a space for something, let us know. We are not able to take block bookings of whole weeks at a time but are happy to look at regular weekly slots.

We launch on Saturday 5th September and would be delighted if you would come and say hello, we are open from 10-4pm so pop in at any time!

And so I seem to have gone full circle, the book I read all those years ago and the dreams and aspirations of the children in that book have now become my reality. Life has some strange twists and turns but if you have “the bug” it certainly makes life a little more exciting. Who knows what the next chapter will be, keep following your dreams folks, they can come true!

Sally Fisher
Theatricool Performing Arts School or call 07736713909

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