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London Standard Theatre Arts Tuition Comes to Sheffield
by Startacus Admin
September trundles casually by, and as it does we are giving Sheffield self-starters, startups and the creatives the opportunity to give a shout out to their city and share with the world the great things that it has to offer.
Karl Newsam is one such self-starter. Following a highly successful career as a professional dancer on the London and international circuits, he has returned to his home town of Sheffield and brought with him the gold standard of London theatre arts tuition.
His new theatre school ‘Kicks Theatre Arts’ promises to nurture the talents of the city’s young folk, and make the prospect of a career in performance a more attainable goal.
We had a chat with him about his school, his journey and the fair city of Sheffield.
So Karl, give us a quick sense of your background and what led you to start Kicks Theatre Arts Sheffield?
I have been performing in shows since I was around 6 years old. At the age of 17 I moved to London to start my career as a dancer. I studied at WKC, Pineapple Studios and The Brit School. I worked professionally during my early training and was featured on Top of the Pops, T4, MTV Select and danced for pop artists and pop groups. I was then very fortunate and landed a scholarship for Arts Educational Schools London where I completed a degree in Musical Theatre. I then went to feature in the West End, several national and international tours and even danced for the Queen.
I started Kicks Theatre Arts as way of giving back to the community and sharing with young people the skills needed for the arts. I was never academic at school and I have dyslexia so it’s nice to share my story with others.
We are an inclusive school so we accept all that have an interest in the arts and want to develop their artistry. Our aim is to give young people performance experience and to support them on to higher education and professional work.
We are aware of a growing concern that careers in the arts are increasingly being seen as a reserve of the privileged, for a number of reasons. What effect do you think this continued shift could have on the prospects of Sheffield’s youth?
Great question. It’s something I have battled with over my career. My background was not so privileged as some, and during my degree I worked full time in order to live in London. The industry has changed dramatically over the past 10 years due to reality TV and the internet. The need for instant stardom has increased but the quality of talent I feel has decreased. As it’s now judged more on likeability, and what TV show you've appeared on rather than your experience and skill.
However this is prime-time for young people to develop as artists and celebrate being an individual. There are so many different mediums and platforms for people to express themselves. We just need to support and educate young people on how to use these in a positive way. Plus I always believe if you want it, get out there and grab with both hands, no matter how tough the struggle.
Public spending on the arts is really topical at the moment with many feeling that the government is being too London-centric with its ‘spend per head’. From your experience of the area do you think that Arts and Culture in Sheffield are being affected by this alleged disparity.
I think it’s easy to assume that the government is too London focused.
London is the capital for tourism and without it London wouldn't survive. We need to celebrate the fact that arts and culture is migrating North. For instance the BBC, ITV and eventually so too will the money.
What do you think that the benefits will be for the Sheffield youths who attend Kicks Theatre School?
• Professional training,
• To be taught by tutors that have a wealth of experience in the industry.
• Tuition fee is affordable
• Performance opportunities
• The Arts Award
We are really keen to find out what support is available for someone like yourself trying to create something new in Sheffield. In your experience what has the level of support been like?
The Prince’s Trust , Sheffield Futures and my mum have been very supportive. They have all nurtured my idea and help me turn it into reality. Especially The Prince’s Trust - they are an amazing charity and really develop young enterprises.
We often hear from people who have converted their career into a business / social enterprise. In your opinion what are the main characteristics that a person needs to do this?
The key is, whatever idea you want to develop, you have to live, breathe,sleep and eat it. If you don't believe in it, you won't sell your business.
Do not take things personally either. It's very easy to think a small critique is the end of the world. Whoever is saying it, is saying it to help you.
As someone who has something of an outside perspective on the city, what do you think are the best and worst things about Sheffield?
The best bits:
• Friendly • I love how green this city is. • I really feel that Sheffield is developing and really making a name for itself. • I love Sheffield humour • Festivals - there is always something going in Sheffield.
Don't have anything bad to say, I think Sheffield is wicked and we are on the rise!
If you are intrigued by what Karl has had to say, then why not pay a little visit to his website http://www.kickstheatrearts.co.uk/ ?
If, like Karl, you would like to share your Sheffield self-starter tale then drop us a line to [email protected] and take a look at how you can get involved