Jenny is a freelance drama practitioner based in the Scottish Borders. She delivers drama classes for children from nursery school to the age of 29. She works for Borders Youth Theatre and Kabuki UK.
“My first memory of theatre came about when I was 3 years old. I was playing Cinderella and my grandad was the prince.”
Jenny grew up near Manchester, and since a young age has been taking every opportunity to do theatre and involve people around her. “Every holiday, I sort of forced my cousins into doing nativity plays. They didn’t want to do it at first but grew to enjoy it.”
Jenny has been volunteering with the Children's Festival since 2019 and said these are the reasons for her involvement:
- Imaginate is a great team of people to work with.
- I feel welcomed whenever I speak to a member of the team.
- We are all able to help each other with the different tasks.
- I know if there is anything wrong it will always be dealt with in a timely manner.
- I feel happy when I see children’s faces coming in all excited.
Since 2013, Jenny has also been volunteering for Kabuki UK – supporting people living with Kabuki Syndrome and their families. Kabuki Syndrome is a very rare paediatric congenital condition, which brings multiple physical and developmental challenges. “Kabuki UK organises an annual Family Day in June. When I found out about it, I wanted to be involved and offered warm-up exercises for children.”
When The Family Day got cancelled because of COVID-19, Jenny felt she had to do something. “I offered the group to meet up online to do some activities – quizzes, dances, anything! And there was really an appetite to meet-up, so I kept doing it every month. At some point, I asked Kabuki UK if they were interested in paying me to deliver drama workshops and they were keen.” Over the last 2 years, Jenny has been offering drama classes to children and their siblings based from all over the UK, breaking down geographic barriers.
“I want to come across as someone open and approachable. I always respond to people’s interest. We can do drama classes using anything! We did Peppa Pig, Peter Pan, sometimes we write our own script. We can do songs, and I always finish my sessions with a boogie.”
Children joining Jenny’s classes are from all ages. Parents really appreciate accessing an opportunity when their children can do a creative activity together, whether they have kabuki syndrome or not.
“I think it’s important to offer drama classes to people living with kabuki syndrome to create that safe space and understand that we aren’t any different to anyone else and just as creative. One highlight is seeing some of my participants building the confidence to join a drama class where they live.”
Jenny is a creative powerhouse and we feel very lucky at Imaginate to have had her as a Festival volunteer.