Nicola Dereham recently brought her UK-based theatre group to Mamer, where she gives drama, singing and storytelling lessons.
Nicola Dereham relocated to Luxembourg with her partner in October 2016, having already established her own successful youth theatre group back in 2012.
In the UK, she had graduated in performing arts before completing her master’s in theatre for young audiences from the prestigious Rose Bruford College in Kent. “It was during my master’s that I fell in love with teaching younger children, particularly toddlers and preschoolers,” explains Nicola.
“At the time, I was working with organisations such as the Half Moon Young People’s Theatre in London, which really inspired me. Children have such great imaginations and drama gives them a way of expressing those ideas.”
Nicola started her youth group in April 2017 and is based at the Mamerhaff in Mamer. “I have approximately 14 children in my Thursday classes with seven different nationalities present,” she says.
“At the moment we are working on a Christmas production entitled Christmas in imagination land, which the children have created themselves, coming up with their own unique ideas for characters, such as the cat shaped as a lollipop and the ghost who’s afraid of the dark.”
In addition, Nicola runs a Friday morning singing and storytelling group for the under-fives. “My youngest student is nine months and the oldest is three years,” says Nicola. “Parents stay with the children for the session and take part in activities such as singing nursery rhymes, playing with puppets and giant bubbles. They just love it.”
Drama has many benefits for children, but for those who are particularly shy or have learning difficulties, it has been shown to improve motor neuron skills, confidence and team building.
“All the children learn that there is no such thing as a bad idea,” explains Nicola. “Children have a voice and they need to explore and be heard.” She hopes to bring one of her productions from Roots and Wings UK to Luxembourg in 2018.