Charlie's Blog

Keep Calm and do LAMDA!
By Charlie Condron on November 10, 2015

On Saturday I listened to over 50 children perform at The Chelmsford Speech and Drama Festival! It’s such a lovely little festival and well attended. The children I watched were absolutely fantastic, and I was so pleased that my musical theatre group came 3rd with their performance of ‘Belle.’

Whilst I was at the Festival I managed to catch up with one of the adjudicators, Samantha Tucker, and she gave me some handy hints as to what LAMDA examiners and festival adjudicators are looking for. 

For Poetry Exams;

-       Facial expression and the ability to convey different emotions. A good idea is to do your poem in front of a mirror to make sure that your facial expressions are really clear.

-       Slow down when you are performing your poem, although you have heard this poem lots of times it’s the first time that your audience have heard this poem.

-       Pause for three seconds between each stanza.

-       Have fun and be confident!

For Acting Exams: 

-       Make sure the unseen characters are really clear, it’s best to have them on a diagonal so that you are never in profile. The audience wants to see your face at all times.

-       Slow down, especially if the unseen character is supposed to be saying something. Leave a pause as if they’re actually speaking.

-       Use the space, don’t just stand on the spot and recite your speech. Find reasons for your character to move!

-       Have fun and be confident!!

At the moment my LAMDA students are getting ready for their next exam in February so hopefully they can take all these things on board! Good luck! 

 

 

 

My Blog Competition
By Charlie Condron on November 06, 2015

I was ecstatic when my mum told me that I had been chosen to go to London to present the Smarties Book Award! I was only 12 years old and of course had dreamed of being on the stage since I could remember, so this was such a great opportunity I just couldn't wait! Then I found out the prize was going to Jacqueline Wilson who was by far my favourite author!!! You can imagine I was equally excited at the beginning of the week when I found out that Jacqueline Wilson had written a new book called 'Little Stars.' I immediately ordered some copies and decided I was going to launch a competition. 

 For all my Little Stars who love reading and writing, for your chance to win a copy of the book please write in 100 words why you like coming to Little Stars. The winner will be a guest blogger on my Reach For The Stars Blog and will also win a copy of 'Little Stars' runners up will also feature on the website and Facebook page. So get writing..... 

 I'm off to start reading! 

 

The World's A Stage
By Charlie Condron on November 03, 2015

I’ve just been to visit the big cheese in Disney Land Paris – Mickey Mouse, and I was lucky enough to visit him on Halloween, one of the most magical weekends at Disney! I would highly recommend it to everybody, the atmosphere in the park was phenomenal with lots of extra things to do, actors walking around in character as well as dancers and the Disney characters themselves.

I’m an avid Disney fan and have visited the parks several times and I just love it! The drama, the excitement, the magic and the fun. Even Mr Little Stars who was difficult to convert to a Disney believer declared this weekend; ‘it’s just like living a dream’ and this got me thinking about how great Disney is.

You enter a world of make believe and dreams where anything is possible. Children are encouraged to delve into their imagination to a place where princesses sing, mermaids grow legs, and mice are lifesize! When I was queuing for The Tower of Terror all the members of staff were acting as though they working in ‘The Twiglight Hotel’ and where fully in character. The attention to detail in what makes Disney so much more than a theme park but an experience! Whilst I was there I realised I was surrounded by actors, the staff working on the rides, the characters, the princesses conjuring up a magical word.

My Recommendations;

-       The Ratatouille Ride in Disney Studios is absolutely fantastic, don’t miss is. Queues are always very long, we fast passed it which mean we only have to wait 10 minutes.

-       Buffulo Bills Wild West show was amazing, great fun for EVERYBODY!

-       If you fancy a wine/beer/coffee/sit down then go to the Disney Hotel you don’t need to be staying there to have a drink in the bar and you don’t need to make a reservation – perfect place to rest tired feet!

-       If you do go to Halloween at Disney do not underestimate the ‘fancy dress’ for adults! We saw the Fairy Godmothers from Sleeping Beauty in full light up costumes, a vampire bride in a wedding dress, and loads of princesses. I thought I was going all out with Maleficent ears but I was totally underdressed!

If you get the chance to go, take the opportunity, it’s fabulous.  


 

Love it or Loath Halloween is here to stay
By Charlie Condron on October 27, 2015

 

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/12189588_1926202714270923_3185769622897726275_n.jpg?oh=c532ee51eee3ffb52494446bb65ec817&oe=568A5C81&__gda__=1455648491_043fd19b926a0d0eb14b45ba35592e4cLike it or loath it Halloween is here to stay!

Hubble bubble toil and trouble

Fires burn and cauldrons bubble

 

As I embark on a week of spooky, or, in some cases, not so spooky Halloween workshops it got me thinking why Halloween is not such a loved tradition for kids and grown-ups alike.

A chance to dress up – everyone love to dress up and Halloween is the perfect opportunity. It allows children to play act as a scary or spooky character.  It seems now that adults can enjoy the dress up tradition with more and more high street shops selling adult costumes and such is the popularity for adults to dress up that Disneyland even allow dressed up adults into their parks during their Halloween period.  

Trick or Treating - dress up, spooking people and sweet treats as a reward combine to make a truly terrific tradition. It is also an opportunity to connect with the neighbours. There does seem to be an unspoken rule to only go to people’s houses who have a pumpkin outside their door which is a good rule to follow as not everyone likes and agrees with Halloween. If you do like Halloween though pop a pumpkin or decoration in the window and prepare to be spooked.

Carving pumpkins – what is there not to like? Scooping out the slimy insides before carving it into a spooky face, adding a light and hey presto a magnificent Halloween decoration. It is a perfect activity for any age.  I have also noticed this year an increase in the number of people who are picking their own pumpkins which looks a really fun idea.

Nostalgia – I loved Halloween as a child, we would start planning our costumes in September and always went trick or treating with friends round the village to all the neighbours before returning home to a game of ‘apple bobbing’. As a consequence I would be keen to pass on these traditions. I am sure this rings true for other people

Scaring people – I think the main reason why kids (and adults) love Halloween is the chance to scare others, to be scary and to feel a little bit scared themselves. Years ago I worked at an event where my main role was to scare people and the guests LOVED it – they love being scared!! I guess being scared releases adrenaline and a ‘rush’ of excitement.

 

Making memories and connecting with others is key to childhood and key to Halloween – so however you celebrate and whatever you do - Happy Halloween everyone!

Stop Right Now Thank You Very Much!
By Charlie Condron on October 19, 2015

This term I have been so aware of how busy I am, running from place to place with barely any time to eat or sleep in between! I am queen of a take away coffee and eating on the go! Recently I’ve stopped for a second and thought would it make any difference if I just stopped what I was doing and just enjoyed that moment!

 

 I have been particularly trying to do this with my Little Stars and give them all the moment that they need to tell me about what exciting thing they’ve done at school or what’s going on at the weekend.

 

Life is so busy and sometimes we just need to stop, slow down and enjoy the moment. So what’s it going to be people? What are you going to do to slow down and enjoy each and every moment of this fantastic life?  

 

 

There ain't no party like a Party Stars party!
By Charlie Condron on October 05, 2015

 

Planning a child’s birthday party isn’t easy and it seems there are an array of options to go for from hiring a mini zoo, bowling, a cupcake making party to a good old fashioned tea party.

As party providers ourselves we have a wealth of experience hosting parties for children aged 2-12.

So what makes a good party?

  • Whether you are going for a party in a hall or at home decorate the venue. It gives the space a sense of occasion and looks fantastic on pictures.

  • If you are having a party for younger children then party boxes filled with goodies are a great idea. However, platters of party food passed round works really well for older children.

  • Everyone always comes to a party with a gift (it would be rude not to). It is a good idea to have a gift table to place the presents. Have a pack of white sticky labels and a pen and write the child’s name on it this will make sure you know who the gift is from later. Most people save the presents to be opened at a later date rather than during the party.

  • Thank you cards or letters are a must. Take a photo of your child or even the whole party and use it on the thank you cards as this acts as a special moment of the party. Getting your child to write the cards themselves really adds a personal touch.

  • At Party Stars we offer high energy adventure parties where everyone is included and involved. Although traditional party games are often great fun and bring a sense of nostalgia, they can be difficult for the parent to organise and sometimes fail to capture young children’s attention. If you do want to make it traditional choose party games carefully and keep it quick paced – for example only have a few turns of musical statues and maybe think about a couple of parcels moving at the same time for pass the parcel. Alternate a high energy game, like musical bumps, with a calmer more sedate game, like sleeping lions or pass the parcel. Some party hosts are happy to include a traditional party game or two.

  • Parents of reception aged children and younger generally stay at parties so make sure you have somewhere for them to sit and perhaps consider offering tea and coffee too.

    Older children are usually left at parties alone so it is a good idea to take a contact telephone number for each child.

  • Whether you opt for a party host or to run your own party birthday candles are a must – make sure they are purchased and packed, along with matches, prior to the party.

Planning and hosting your child’s party can be a very daunting task but at the same time it is extremely rewarding and something that can be remembered and cherished for years to come.

 

Charlie Day runs party stars which offers adventure parties and show in a party for ages 2-12. www.partystarsuk.co.uk

 

Life of a Drama Student Graduate
By Charlie Condron on September 13, 2015

 

Little Stars Theatre Workshops

 

As an actor we always need another job. A job that fits in well with our unpredictable acting lives, and I am very lucky to have Little Stars Logofound a wonderful job at Little Stars Theatre Workshops. We are a local and independent theatre school. We offer a range of classes starting with pre-school and going up to 16. We pride ourselves on being a fun and education theatre school. The school was founded in August 2011 by Charlie Condron and our schools have grown since then.

I started working for Charlie in January 2014 when I saw a job post on Casting Call Pro looking for party hosts with Little Stars’ sister company Party Stars. I dress up as the child’s favourite character and entertain the children taking them on a magical edventure singing, dancing and playing games along the way. Lots of fun! After about 4 months Charlie contacted me asking me if I wanted to open up Little Stars’ first school outside of Essex. I grabbed at the chance to become the manager of a new Little Stars school.

Little Stars Colney Heath has been open a year now and I have loved every minute of it. We have weekly classes every Tuesday at Colney Heath Village Hall. 3.45-4.40pm is our Twinkling Stars class for ages 3-6 and then we have our Shining Stars class from 4.30-6pm for ages 6+. 

They are such a talented wonderful bunch of kids. Every term is themed and at the end of the term we hold a fully costumed performance on the stage for all the parents. We hold wonderful workshops too. The one the above picture was taken from was our Matilda Workshop where we had a member of the West End cast come along and teach all the children a routine from the actually show. Then we held a performance for all the parents.

Opportunities like this are wonderful for children. Lots of them go to the theatre and see these incredible shows, so when amember of the cast comes to their Theatre School and hosts a half day workshop teaching the exact routines they see in the show, it’s very exciting for them. Some of them at the workshop want to be professional performers, so this opportunity is like dipping their toes into a wonderful career.

I loved these opportunities when I was at dance school. We had Wayne Sleep come in and do a workshop with us one year and I was in my element. I felt like a true professional and it securedmy love of performing and wanting to enter into this career.

Little Stars is a platform for me to be creative but more importantly, it’s an opportunity for children to be creative, improve their confidence and grow!

 

Having a Wheely Good Time
By Charlie Condron on September 05, 2015

 

So I have something embarrassing to tell you. I can't ride a bike! Well I couldn't. So when I arrived at the Maldives and we were shown to our water villa that was miles away from the centre of the resort we were asked, or rather told; 'you both like riding a bike' I was less than impressed! But being on my honeymoon and with my attitude that anything is possible, I decided I would try it. But decided I would give up if I didn't like it. 

 

The jetties which the water villas are on have no hand rails so if you're falling off your bike you are potentially falling into the sea with your bike behind you. So on I climbed to my bike, scared as anything but Lewis telling me that I could definitely do it! I had a go and then stopped as soon as I wobbled and didn't want to get back on, but on I got and the more I rode my bike the more confident I got! Dare I say that I actually went for a bike ride this morning and enjoyed it. I text my mum straight away to tell her... I could ride a bike! 

 

Looking back now my whole attitude had been really silly! Of course I can ride a bike everyone can. As the children go back to school this week it got me to thinking just how scary new experiences are, learning new things and fear of the unknown! As an adult these experiences get less and less but for children they are learning new things and having new experiences every day, especially at the start of the new term!

 

At Little Stars too, getting up on stage, doing LAMDA exams, so hats off to all our little ones at the start of this new term, let's just hope like me once they've tried it they love it!  And let's celebrate their achievements no matter how small!   

My Proudest Moment
By Charlie Condron on September 01, 2015

 

Well the last few days has been a complete whirlwind and I'm glad to get a moment to finally stand still in the moment and realise just how amazing the last four days has been! 
It all began on Wednesday when 45 children ended the last workshop of the Summer by performing Mamma Mia. I love this musical anyway and 2 days before I got married it felt like the obvious choice! And cor blimey what a performance it was, we donned out feather boars, cowboy hats and 70's get up for the longest show Little Stars has ever performed during a holiday workshop. I didn't realise just how brilliant it was until the whole group was belting out Mamma Mia at the top of their voice, smiling, singing and loving life! Then our Super Stars sang 'Slipping Through My Fingers' and if I wasn't emotional enough when Sophie walked down the aisle showered in confetti I was knocked over the emotional edge! 
I had no time to think about this though because it was a quick turn around before the final church rehearsal before the big day! At this point I was beyond excited as my chief bridesmaid whipped me away for a champagne nail party to prepare for the big day! 
Many of my Little Stars' parents had prepared me for just how much the time would 'slip through my fingers' but you just don't realise how fast it goes. As family members checked into La Maison Talbooth, buzzing, excited and ready to go the night before my wedding was truly magical. A chilled out BBQ before the big day was much needed. 
Blink and you miss it, suddenly it was upon us! All the bridesmaids gathered in my room for hair and make up, the fabulous flowers by Miss Fleurs Floral designs arrived and the dress was on, it was time to go!
About a year ago when the wedding had been booked I had the most amazing idea that I could have a Little Stars choir, Lewis took some convincing but how could he say no, for the last four years it has been my whole life and he's been there through the blood, sweat and tears. But nothing could quite prepare me for my proudest moment.
I was already on the emotional precipice when Amie, who was in charge of looking after the choir along with Leanne and Hana, sent me a live good luck message from them. They looked amazing and I couldn't wait to see them in the church. 
But I cannot put into words how amazing it was to see my Little Stars at the church along with all my family and friends they sang amazingly, they made my day complete. And it really was my proudest moment. It wasn't just me who thought so, the guests kept telling me just how great they were (even Lewis!) 
'The choir were truly amazing' Mother of the Groom
'The choir made the ceremony so special' Lewis 
'The choir were so good you would think they did this professionally' Mother of the Bride 
'The hymns were amazing and the choir were so well behaved and I could tell were loving every second' Becky (Bridemaid) 
And one from me, you made my wedding! Thank you so much; Faith, Anna, Fluer, Sophie, Eloise, Elen, Erin, Edie, Maisy, Zara, Alana, Mia B, Yasmin, Emily, Olivia, Charlotte, Merise, Lisa, Mia M, Angel, Amelie, Rosie, Mia S, Sian, Zoe, Ellis, Mia F, Emily and Ella. 

 

Blink and you miss it!
By Charlie Condron on August 10, 2015

Week 3 of the Summer Holidays and I haven’t even come up for breath yet! I hope you guys have been having as much fun as I have! My Summer started with an astounding ‘Minions The Musical’ and since then have been on board an inflatable car in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,’ our 2-5 year olds have been running fast like The Gingerbread Man and went under the sea to visit The Singing Mermaid. But this week is my busiest yet, as I am doing two shows in three days!


The most fantastic thing about my summer, has been the fantastic feedback that I have had from both parents and children! A little girl melted my heart as she declared to me ‘Little Stars is the best thing ever!’ What more could make my day! That’s job satisfaction for you! Children from as young as 2 to 16 have the chance to come and express themselves through singing, acting, dancing and performing! And it's fantastic to see what amazingly talented children I have. One parent said to me, 'You've got it spot on, the children have so much fun whilst learning so much too!' The was great for me to hear as this is the exact vision I had for Little Stars when I started it. 

 So far I have had an absolutely fantastic summer, it's been non-stop, but it's been great to see so many different groups of children making new friends, having fun, bonding as a team, and putting on fantastic performances.  

I hope you are having an equally fantastic summer, making some amazing memories with your little ones (and big ones!)