50 NOT OUT!

How did that happen? I have now been self employed for fifty years and for those of you who don’t know, this is how I did it.

After leaving drama school in 1971 I got married and settled into life in Leicestershire. My husband was travelling for work as a musician, so I put an advert in the local paper for youngsters needing acting and confidence building.

I rented rooms at my local church and within a couple of years I had 100 students doing classes on a Saturday or private lessons after school.

I entered them for exams and local competitive festivals and took exams myself to build my skills further. I soon had two Licentiate diplomas in teaching at degree level, as well as Acting and Performance diplomas.

I became the Speech & Drama mistress at a local convent school and worked at three other schools during the following years.

My drama school grew and rooms were hired at various venues as student numbers became 150 and then 200. Senior students became teaching assistants for the classes.

I did regular productions at the local theatre and in 1986 was invited to join the LAMDA examining board, working all over the UK and eventually travelling to Singapore, Vietnam, China, Sri Lanka and many more countries.

I became an adjudicator for the British & International Federation of Festivals in 1991 which involved visiting most parts of the Uk and Ireland as well as Hong Kong, most years, for a month and beautiful Sri Lanka several times.

I was published on Shakespeare and took on the lease of part of a building in the town centre, where we built 2 studios and a waiting room. The main studio had a stage and lighting rig for in-house productions.

After 30 years of Saturday work, I handed my classes over to my daughter and concentrated more on private coaching which now included adults.

This led me to a major change in 2000 when I founded Loud & Clear voice coaching to work in the business sector.

I began networking, had a great website designed and over the last twenty years have gained a reputation as one of the top spoken voice coaches in the Uk and abroad. Bespoke Vocal Workshops are very popular.

Now the majority of my work is online and I have clients worldwide, but I still work at my home studio with youngsters for acting, audition coaching, public speaking and performance skills. Some senior students also take diplomas.

After 40 years my daughter took over the drama school and made it her own with qualified staff taking Musical Theatre and Stage Dance. She is now a LAMDA examiner and four of my students have joined her on the board.

I started doing guest speaking on cruise ships about 8 years ago, which I love, as it replaces the performing and directing I did for over 40 years in plays and pantomimes.

I retired from examining after 34 years but still adjudicate and have become a Trustee of BIFF. I usually work 3 days a week and there are writing and videoing projects on the go.

So that’s me! Thanks for reading.

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