How long have you been involved in John Giller Drama and Theatre Academy (JG DATA) and what made you join/create/launch/purchase it?
The John Giller Drama and Theatre Academy officially opened on the 1st January 2012 and was initially only in Hunstanton. However, within just six months it was evident that children outside the area wanted to join my academy too, so I opened my second academy in King’s Lynn.
Were you already in this part of West Norfolk or did you move here to take up your role?
I qualified as a teacher from Greenwich University in 1994 and moved to West Norfolk to start my teaching career with my first post in King’s Lynn.
What was/is your primary motivator?
I love acting, singing and performing, which I’ve done from a very young age. Working with children is very rewarding and joining the two together gives me my the ideal job. I work hard to ensure JGDATA presents and embodies the diversity of all students taking part through a range of genres, art forms, cultures and approaches to acting, singing and theatre studies.
I value everyone attending the academy as an individual, and work hard to promote the personal, social and creative voice of our students, together with the educational development of our younger members.
The power to challenge, influence, enlighten and change our lives and those around us is important and our students will be given opportunities to take risks in a safe and supportive environment through high quality, challenging, fun, and meaningful drama sessions.
What do you believe JG DATA brings to our community?
My Vision and that of JGDATA is to offer a safe, challenging, fun and empowering academy of excellence that provides every student with the opportunity to be part of a theatrical production. My aim is to make a positive difference to people’s lives by supporting their participation in, and access to high quality teaching and learning and I believe my students should be able to develop their full potential through a wide range of quality theatrical experiences.
Using an encouraging and supportive syllabus that is both creative and inspirational, my students will have the opportunity to express themselves, develop a passion and make the most of their talent no matter their age or ability. My youngest students will be supported into adulthood using theatre techniques to make a positive contribution to their personal development; building confidence, enhancing life skills and improving their chances of achieving economic wellbeing, while working to raise their aspirations. All students within the academy, regardless of age, are encouraged to continue their involvement within the arts and to work collaboratively with others to build a successful, supportive, fun and friendly academy community.
I believe that performing arts is a universal expression of human kind and involvement within it benefits all of our students, especially our young members who are given the opportunity to find their place and voice in our community and society.
What is your background and what do you bring to your role in your organisation?
I’m a local school teacher in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, where I live with my wife and children. I’ve been involved with acting and singing for a very long time and have been performing on stage for over 25 years. Currently, I’m the writer, director and Dame of the Hunstanton Pantomime.
I teach drama and theatre techniques in many schools through my educational provision called ‘SCHOOL Stars’, which I created for primary aged children.
Having two degrees in education (Bachelor of Education with Honours 1994 and Master of Arts in Education 2001) I have a very grounded and sound understanding of the learning outcomes I want for my students. This is achieved through extremely enjoyable session content taught in a relaxed style to ensure student growth in ability and confidence.
Tell us about the highlights? What do you think makes it all worthwhile so far?
Each session I teach is a highlight. Children blossom and grow, which is always wonderful to watch, however in such a short time JGDATA has become an award winning drama academy, winning trophies and certificates for our productions, which is all credit to the commitment and skills of our young students. JGDATA is such a great drama family which has grown and keeps growing.
Tell us about some of the challenges you have experienced and how you overcome them?
Challenges come in different forms, from monetary constraints to things like the weather when we have outside performances. I have been very lucky in having help from the local community, especially from Sue Murkett who has been working with me as a volunteer. Her help and skills add greatly to JGDATA, and she has now become a Norfolk County Council licensed Chaperon, (As have my wife and I). One of my real challenges is being a sole trader, being the only teacher means I can only be at one venue at a time. This is a challenge as I have lots of schools on a waiting list to have me teach at their schools. Although it’s a nice challenge to have bookings as far as two years in advance.
What type of clients/people do you work with?
I work with children from 4 years old up to adult.
What would you like to say to anyone wanting to get involved?
JGDATA is an award winning drama school based in Hunstanton and King’s Lynn in Norfolk and we teach children from 4 years old and run two distinct groups:
- SHOOTING Stars – Students 4 to 11 years old.
- MEGA Stars – Students 12 and over.
Each 2 hour session is designed and created by me, John Giller, with child development at its core, using drama, singing and movement to build greater confidence, improve concentration, assist social skills and personal development, while allowing students to be creative. Not only a fantastic learning experience, it’s also a great way for children to make new friends and have fun.
Using different themes to deliver a fun filled collection of high energy games, catchy songs and rhymes, together with theatrical techniques such as mime, movement, improvisation, script, props and costume, SHOOTING Stars is designed to bring out every student’s true potential.
The first session is FREE so come and join the fun and become a successful SHOOTING Star or MEGA Star.
Friday Academy King’s Lynn – 6pm until 8pm – SHOOTING Stars only –
North Wootton Primary School
Norfolk, PE30 3PT
Saturday Academy Hunstanton – 10.30am until 12.30pm – SHOOTING Stars only
Saturday Academy Hunstanton – 12.30pm until 2.30pm – MEGA Stars only
Glebe House School & Nursery
Norfolk, PE36 6HW
Where do you see JG DATA 5 years from now and how it will add value to our community?
JGDATA is coming to the end of it’s third academic year, and if we continue to be successful I see us growing to a third academy as I currently have students traveling from as far as Swaffham and Wells. I have three plays entering the Hunstanton Drama Festival and this year, for the first time, I have an adult group called the JGDATA SUPANOVAS, so I am hoping to expand this area of my academy.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
I have been very lucky working with local businesses and the local community. We started JGDATA in the basement of the Town Hall, and Hunstanton Town Council very kindly allowed me to use the room free of charge for the year. This allowed me to keep the student fees very low. Other companies have helped with venue costs too: Lynn Star Logistics, Kings Oak Kitchens, HDFA, and Hunstanton Pantomime. Entrance fees to festivals is another way local businesses have help JGDATA; CM Child Minding, HDFA, R&L Engineering have all helped in this way. I thank them all and everyone involved with JGDATA for their help and support and a huge thank you to Hunstanton-On-Line for allowing me this opportunity to tell my story.
Finally, don’t forget that you can see the JGDATA students in action in the Hunstanton Drama Festival on Saturday 12th July 2014. At 2.30pm (Matinee performance) my MEGA Stars will be performing their comedy play ‘Bang Crash Bump’ (click here for more information about the show)
And my SHOOTING Stars will be performing their musical extravaganza ‘The Sock Monsters’ (click here for more information about this show)
My Adult group, the SUPANOVAS are performing their comedy play ‘The Holiday Club’ in the evening at 7.30pm (more information about this show)
I hope you can come and support our local stars.
You can contact John via:
Website URL: www.jgdata.co.uk
Facebook URL: www.facebook.com/JGDATA
Twitter ID: www.twitter.com/JGDATA