Helen O'Grady Drama Academy – Derby

"Development Through Drama"

About Us

This page covers about us and about our wonderful programme. We teach children 5 to 17 years of age, and even adults!!

The Helen O’Grady Drama Academy is the only organisation of its kind in the UK and had its origins in Australia many years ago. In 1979, Helen O’Grady, a trained teacher, drama teacher and actress, hired a hall in a Perth suburb and commenced after school drama classes for children. Her aims were to provide a self-development through drama programme for children, to encourage:

  • Enthusiasm, energy and a positive approach to life.
  • Ongoing confidence.
  • Self esteem.
  • Skill in verbal communication
  • Effective social interaction

The Helen O’Grady Drama System for children became the basis for further expansion and since 1979, the remainder of Australia and New Zealand have been introduced to the Helen O’Grady Academies as well as Africa, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Zambia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, USA, South Africa and the United Kingdom, Ireland, Europe and the Gulf States.

There are over 50,000 students attending Helen O’Grady Drama classes each week, throughout twenty six countries. In 1994, four Academies were established in the UK and there are now forty nine in operation. Over 15,000 children each week attend classes in the UK; it is anticipated there will be approximately 50,000 students per week attending classes over the next few years.

The programme we offer is a very successful developmental drama programme. It allows each child to express themselves creatively as well as develop language, communication skills and self esteem.  All of our specially trained teachers follow a structured, professional curriculum which explores voice, movement and creative drama.

The speech training encourages children of all ages to become aware of what constitutes clear speech by learning exercises that are fun to learn and fun to say. The lesson then moves on to a dynamic movement section which aims to develop co-ordination as well as allowing each child to express themselves creatively. Then, every three weeks, these skills are linked into a musical mimed story; all of which we have such a great time!

The main part of each lesson is creative drama. Several times during the term we encourage students to bring a prop or a simple costume (see ‘dress-up days in the top menu) to use in an improvisation or a mini-script, as we find this helps each child develop their own character, and therefore further develop their personal skills, including their self-esteem.

Term’s one and two concentrate on developmental drama whilst the third term is something really special. The curriculum becomes more structured so that every class begins work on a short, scripted production that is performed at a stunning end of year show.

Youth Theatre

Our Youth Theatre classes are a dynamic, developmental drama programme that ensures all students have a great time.

No matter what level a student starts at, our curriculum will greatly assist them in improving their creativity, confidence and communication skills; it will also prepare them for their adult life and in particular with presentation, public speaking and performance talents.

For example, sometimes we work with scripts, so firstly as a group we discuss in which period the script is set, what the relationships are between the characters, who the characters are. Then they can have a practice and perform to the class.

Our curriculum covers voice, improvisation and script work. At the end of the academic year, all students take part in a scripted production where the emphasis is on the whole class being involved to experience and produce something really special.