I attended the opening day at Theatretrain Hagley in 2003 at the age of 12 and caught the Theatretrain bug! I then continued my journey until 18 when I had to leave. Shortly after I returned as a volunteer and later progressed through the roles of assistant, singing teacher and for the last 5 years as the centre director.
When I first started, I was a very anxious child who would shy away at the back, but very quickly I started to build great friendships and soon felt part of the Theatretrain family! As my confidence grew, I would be excited all week for Theatretrain on the weekends and couldn’t wait to see what we were working on next. I loved singing, dancing and acting, and never would I have thought I’d be performing in front of large audiences!
I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to perform in many of the prestigious West End Theatres and been given soloist opportunities in local productions. In 2006 I sang a duet at The Royal Albert Hall with a close friend of mine who I am still friends with today and from time to time we will reminisce about such lovely memories. I’ll never forget that feeling performing in a real theatre for the first time. The overwhelming anxiety, quick costume changes, the busy backstage buzz and standing on stage for the bows searching through a beaming audience looking for my parents. I loved it!
My most stand out memory has to be the finale of 20@02! The moment the confetti filled the arena along with the cheering from proud parents in the audience – just wow! An experience of a lifetime and one I will never forget!
I loved all three subjects (dance, singing, drama) and had some really inspiring teachers who I still hold really fond memories of today. Kate (Hagley’s previous centre director) really created a family ethos which I felt such a part of, and now I strive to maintain that same ethos. Kate is such a fabulous role model and someone I continue to learn from. A friend for life.
Laura’s advice for prospective Theatretrain students:
I am so thankful to my Mum for encouraging me to try something new all of those years ago, because who would have thought I would still be hooked 20 years on! Step outside your comfort zone and be brave to try something new because you just don’t know where it could lead to!
Theatretrain really gave me the love for performing arts. Almost 20 years later having completed the full cycle of student, assistant, teacher and now a franchisee. It really has shaped me to become the person I am today! It is now a privilege to be able to provide the same experiences and opportunities and share the love of performing with our up-and-coming students.
At the time I decided to take on Hagley as the centre director, I was teaching full time as a primary school teacher while teaching singing at TT and wished I could have more of a work life balance. I thought “wouldn’t it be great to do Theatretrain full time!” Little did I know that opportunity was just around the corner waiting for me.
Thank you to all of the people who have supported me along my journey so far!
Thank you, Laura for being the heart of Theatretrain Hagley! What a story. You can find out more about opening your own Theatretrain centre or read more Theatretrain stories from our nostalgia blog series. We’d love to share more Theatretrain stories! Send your story and photos to email@example.com.