These days performing arts clubs for kids are fairly easy to find so just what is it about Pirrie Performing Arts that’s different?
Well for starters, they’ve got some impressive form. Before setting up their business two years ago, dance and musical theatre instructors and husband and wife team Dean and Sarah Pirrie travelled the world on cruise liners performing in front of thousands.
And their tough training and performing schedule taught them that what makes a performer stand out is the energy they bring to the stage.
Harnessing the idea that every child is capable of becoming a performer, Dean and Sarah were eager to realise a longstanding dream of opening their own company for children – and Pirrie Performing Arts was born.
There’s no exclusive membership to become a Pirrie Performer - you won’t find auditions here for any of their classes which range from Contemporary Dance through to Acro Dance, Musical Theatre and to a Saturday Stage School for ages five and up.
“It’s definitely very important to us that our classes are varied and inclusive. Every child is welcome and will find something to love about our classes,” says Sarah.
“It’s about instilling confidence,” Dean adds, “I remember as a child I’d sometimes feel a bit of a misfit because I wasn’t into football or whatever. Drama classes always provided a safe place for me to be myself. That’s what we want for our kids."
It’s not always about being the best dancer, singer or actor but instead, it’s about their energy.
“Not everyone is going to become a performer when they grow up but the performance skills they learn help build their confidence and those are skills which will be with them for life.”
After returning to Perthshire two years ago the couple settled close to family in St Madoes and began running classes at the local village hall. It quickly became clear that there was an appetite for a performing arts company which gave kids a chance to have a go at all aspects of performance – dance, singing and drama.
Their joint professional experience coupled with their infectious enthusiasm quickly drew interest from local families and after first setting up in Dunfermline they went on to establish themselves in Perth.
After touring local schools providing taster sessions and thanks to word of mouth, the Perth branch of Pirrie Performing Arts had lift off and their young students were able to showcase newly acquired talents in explosive end of term performances.
“It’s always great for the kids to see how everything comes together and to get into costume and perform for their families – it’s a great feeling of accomplishment,” says Sarah, “We teach them that it’s all about the energy they bring to the stage - it’s not always about being the best dancer, singer or actor but instead, it’s about their energy."
We really like to make sure that every child is treated as an individual and that we get time to spend with each of them.
“We really like to make sure that every child is treated as an individual and that we get time to spend with each of them as we’ve found it really helps bring out the best in them,” Dean adds.
Having recently relocated to new, custom-built premises at the Ice Factory on Perth’s Shore Road, Pirrie Performing Arts really has a little something for everyone interested in dipping their toes into performance and the 190 or so children already calling themselves Pirrie Performers are testament to the popularity of their weekly classes and specialist holiday workshops.
For Dean and Sarah, it’s been an amazing journey seeing their joint dream become a reality and they’re looking forward to the future and what lies in store for their fledgling company.
“We’ve always been big dreamers. We knew what we wanted to do and we just went for it. It doesn’t really feel like work because we love it – we’re even happy just taking care of the admin,” laughs Sarah.
For more information on how to get involved or where to find the venue please visit the Pirrie Performing Arts website.
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