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Jake and Jason from Abstract Kids Drama on their time at Jigsaw!

Introducing Jake and Jason from Abstract Kids Drama!

Hey, so my name’s Jason, or Mr. Jason to some!

I first attended Jigsaw when I was around 15. This began as I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship through my school. I always did very well in drama, but going to a drama school wasn’t something my parents could afford, looking back now, that moment had such a big impact on my journey in life, so I’m always so grateful for it. I first attended Jigsaw Bexleyheath, which is where I actually met Jake, all those years ago. I stayed on and joined the Jigsaw Youth Theatre, performing in a number of plays. After a few years away from Jigsaw, working and travelling, I was asked to be part of the team at Jigsaw Balham, where I became the drama teacher for about 3 years while studying Drama at uni. I also taught a lot at Jigsaw Finchley and Jigsaw Croydon aswell, as different summer camps around London. Eventually I ended up moving out to Bangkok, Thailand to embark on a new chapter in my life.

Hi there! My name is Jake and Jigsaw has officially been a part of over half of my life… (I think that makes me old)

Similarly to Jason, I received a scholarship to attend Jigsaw Bexleyheath when I was 14 years old. Soon I became a member of the first Jigsaw Youth Theatre and after a short stint at university, I found myself teaching at Jigsaw at the age of 21.

I first taught at Jigsaw Croydon as a Performing Arts assistant; learning from many amazing teachers (borrowing all the best bits!), and then I became a Performing Arts teacher working at many, many Jigsaw schools across London. I genuinely couldn’t even hazard a guess at how many schools I’ve taught at! And now at age 28, I am writing a blog for Jigsaw, it’s one of those amazing full circle moments.

What are you both up to now?

Right now, we are running Abstract Kids Drama; a children’s theatre company based in Phuket, Thailand. We’re a very small team, so at times it seems like we are taking on many roles. “Not quite the actor’s life I (Jake) had envisioned as a kid.”

We specialise in nurturing and growing a child’s imagination through play. Which basically means; we have created a job where we can continue being big kids- and it’s a LOT of fun! We have just completed our first year as a business and it’s all going very well.

What inspired you to teach/create your own business?

Jason: For me, drama is more than just becoming an actor. Although I love performing, the business of acting has never really appealed to me. I still find so much joy in creating and learning and I have always had a great rapport with kids. Drama is such a powerful tool that allows us to play with all the ideas and concepts of the world within a safe and playful space. Teaching has always come natural to me, and using my skills as a performer to create immersive worlds that inspire and educate just feels right. Working for myself has always been a dream of mine. While I value being a team player, I’ve never enjoyed being told what to do. Being my own boss provides the freedom to grow in the direction I want, while also helping others grow in their own ways. I truly believe that this is my calling, and I’m determined to give it my all.

Jake: I started Abstract Kids to create a home, a playground and a safe space to express ourselves freely. Growing up was a pretty difficult endeavour for me. I used my imagination to escape and there I discovered the best tool for life: play. Through play I heal, I learn, I grow and I am devoted to sharing this with the world. I believe that children are our future (thanks, Whitney) and I am beyond proud to say I am lucky enough to help nurture and encourage the coming generations. Children will always teach me more than I teach them.

What was your favourite thing about attending Jigsaw/being a Jigsaw teacher?

Jason: My favourite thing about being with Jigsaw is the people. Everyone is very supportive and it really does feel like one big family, giving each other the space and support to be the best they can be.

Jake: Being able to witness growth. Growth in myself, growth in my students, growth in the teachers and growth in the communities that each Jigsaw school had built. It was beautiful watching so many people of different ages, backgrounds, cultures all working together to create art. Jigsaw is a collaboration of passions.

How did going to Jigsaw/working at Jigsaw help to prepare you for creating/running your own business?

Jason: I learnt so much about teaching, running schools and planning ahead. Most importantly, it inspired me to create a space where people are excited to work.

Jake: I’m not sure anything can fully prepare you for running your own business! But Jigsaw did a great job in training me to always prepare for the unexpected. Working in the creative arts industry, there is always some unique obstacle that no-one has faced before – but that’s when it gets fun!I take my playfulness with me into every aspect of my life and especially when it comes to business.

Any challenges you faced where your time at Jigsaw helped/prepared you to overcome them?

Jason: One piece of advice that always stuck with me came from my manager, Kate Cohen, when I was younger: “Even if kids are running around and having fun, it doesn’t mean they’re not listening.” It’s true – our approach to learning isn’t about being strict or always finding the right answer. Rather, it’s about showing respect for one another, playing with new ideas, and creating an environment in which we can all grow. And why not have fun while we’re at it?

Jake: Through some very difficult times in my life growing up, Jigsaw has always been there for me. Life always has its ups and downs and whether I was attending Jigsaw as a student or teaching there as a young adult, Jigsaw was always the beacon of light that kept me going. The astounding thing about Jigsaw was at any of their schools, even miles apart, it’s always felt like home to me. Truly and always a place I felt I could belong. It’s a family that I am very grateful to still be a part of.

Any inspirational words for current Jigsaw students/teachers?

Jason: Take the time to discover what you truly value and what pulls you from within. As you search, don’t forget to learn new skills, be kind, and work hard to create the world you want to live in.

Jake: Keep going! I was a very shy kid when I joined Jigsaw, but I was always curious and eager to learn. Everyone has something to teach you, if you’re open-minded and patient enough to listen.

Jason: Sending love to all at Jigsaw and wishing you all the best. 

Jake: Thank you for this opportunity! And hello to all my old friends, mentors, students at Jigsaw! If you’re ever travelling through Phuket, be sure to come say hey. Wishing you all the best, Jake

Check us out on Instagram @abstractkidsdrama!