Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Kids Find True Self on Stage; Shyness Forgotten amid Fun, Drama

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Kids Find True Self on Stage; Shyness Forgotten amid Fun, Drama

Article excerpt

Byline: Kathy Sundstrom kathy.sundstrom@scnews.com.au

IT'S hard to imagine US actor Tom Hanks as anything other than a famous, Oscar

award-winning superstar.

But he has been described as "shy" and "sort of a geek" at school.

Clearly, acting gave Hanks an opportunity to find confidence in himself by pretending to be someone else.

While not all shy kids go on to star in major motion pictures like Forrest Gump and Sleepless In Seattle, everyday shy kids on the Sunshine Coast are achieving beyond everyone's expectations through drama.

Drama classes also seem to be having a positive effect in other areas of children's lives. They have been shown to improve leadership skills, risk-taking and reading and provoke an otherwise non-existent passion for Shakespeare.

Take the Sunshine Coast's latest dramatic success story, 15-year-old Joey Lai.

Whenever Joey takes to the stage, he exudes confidence, capability and charisma.

His acting ability has earned him numerous accolades, including last year's Sunshine Coast Eisteddfod Senior Drama Champion and Sunshine Coast Theatre's best supporting actor 14 and over.

Turn back the clock six years and Joey was struggling at school and didn't like English or reading much.

"He wasn't someone who spoke up for himself," mum Claire said.

"He always had a sense of humour, but somehow not at school.

"He was at a really good school, which was caring and encouraging, but it was not his personality.

"However (through acting), this has become his personality."

Ms Lai enrolled Joey in private drama classes and he joined Buderim Youth Theatre of Excellence group.

There, Joey found a place where he was welcomed and accepted and that encouraged him to speak up.

"You get up in a social group that takes risks that you would never take at school," Ms Lai said. …

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