Ariel Drama Academy puts emphasis on supporting mental health as it plans its reopening
Mental health will be taking a front-row seat for Ariel’s relaunch.
Ariel Drama Academy, which teaches drama, singing and dance to more than 1,000 students across Sussex, has been active over the past 15 weeks, providing its students with free online digital lessons.
The academies, which have locations in Burgess Hill, Crawley, East Grinstead, Haywards Heath, Horsham and Steyning have been busy from the very first lockdown weekend.
Nicci Hopson, Ariel artistic director, said: “In preparation for Ariel’s relaunch on August 29, our tutors are completing a government psychological first aid course that will develop their understanding of how emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic can affect us all.
“They will understand how to recognise students who may be at increased risk of distress and be able to offer practical and emotional support.
“This will be alongside Ariel’s creative and fun lessons that build confidence and help students grow and enable us to deal with the ever-changing environment in which we live.
“Ariel has more than 300 students with varying additional needs and this training will help our tutors to have a further understanding of any fears or anxieties our students may have, enabling them to help communicate effectively as we all start to adjust to a new normal.
“At Ariel, supporting each other’s mental health and wellbeing is more important than ever during these challenging and uncertain times.
“The online lessons have been so well received from the students.”
Nicci added: “The lessons have really helped in so many ways.
“They provide a sense of normality, routine and of course keep them being creative.
“I cannot thank my staff and parents enough for all their continued support of us all at Ariel. It has been such a difficult time, with theatre closures and our theatrical costume hire temporarily closing, but this has allowed us the time to really focus on the online content.
“Not only have we been busy devising digital lessons and giving individual, personal feedback to every student, we have been lucky enough to bring in West End stars to do live Q&A’s to our community of nearly 3,000 followers.
“So far we have had Harry Morrison from West End smash Come From Away and Tim Mahendran from & Juliet and lined up over the summer we have Jo Griffith Brown from Hamilton and Wicked’s Laura Pick, currently Elphaba.
“Our tutors have been working tirelessly to provide these creative lessons to support and be a critical touch point of normality at this really unusual time.
“But we feel we are nearing the end of this phase and Ariel hopes to relaunch on August 29. We will be having free trials for the whole of September so we can engage with as many students as possible.”
Find more details about the opportunities ahead by visiting the website www. arielct.com or call 01444 250407 to book a space.
Abigail Paige, Crawley academy principal, teaching a digital singing lesson