My First Jigsaw Experience
- Published Date: March 27, 2019
I’d been working at Jigsaw head office a little over a week as the Office and Social Media Assistant when Founder and Company Director Nikki asked me to join her for a class at Jigsaw Crouch End. It’s one thing to be on the other end of the phone, telling people how great Jigsaw is, but I needed to experience it for myself.
When I was a child, I did school Christmas plays, sung in school choirs, and even appeared in a local panto. But I never had the benefit of a Jigsaw school – and I have to admit, based on what I saw on that Saturday, I was a little bit jealous…
I was there not only to watch and soak up the Jigsaw atmosphere but to help film a new video showcasing the typical Jigsaw experience of Thierry, 12, who’s been coming to Jigsaw for years. We were going to be a “fly on the wall”, watching but not interfering in his morning of drama, singing and dance.
First, I sat in on Thierry’s class, the 12-18-year-olds, for their drama session. They warmed up with some quick drama games, which prompted and fed into some deeper questions about their characters from The Crucible, the modern classic play by Arthur Miller.
Sadly, I couldn’t stay to watch them rehearse their scenes as the reception area was filling up with expectant parents, family and friends, excited to take a look at what their 3-4-year olds had been up to this term in their presentation.
I took the chance to drop in and watch as the class sang, danced, acted out various animals, and even flew around the world on a magic carpet. It was tremendously cute, but more importantly every child joined in and enjoyed themselves, and very quickly the proud audience were laughing along too.
Then it was a quick dash back to the main school group to see how they were getting along with their singing.
They were practising ‘The Lamest Place in the World’, from the musical 13. While, for the purposes of our video, the camera was on Thierry this day, the solo parts were shared equally around the class and this far into the term everyone more than held their own.
An interesting piece of trivia I only discovered later: when 13 hit Broadway it featured an all-teenager cast and band including, in a small role, a young Ariana Grande!
It was a super-suitable choice for this group of talented singers. Their accompanying dance steps incorporated just the right amount of attitude for a song about making the most of feeling stuck in a small town. I’d be first in line to see a full production!
Finally, I joined the 12-18s for their dance class. Set to a track from Dear Evan Hansen, it was modern, expressive, challenging but not impossible and, again, managed to bring everyone together as one to create one performance.
The dance teacher and the class had obviously put in a huge amount of effort to get the piece to its current standard, and it was a pleasure watching them finesse it further. Their rehearsal also made for some great footage for the video, so keep your eyes peeled for that in the coming weeks.
Overall, what really impressed me about my day at Jigsaw Crouch End – and my first week at Jigsaw Head Office – was how much everyone cares about making Jigsaw the best experience possible for every child and teenager. From the school manager, always smiling and welcoming, down to teachers taking the time to ask their classes if anyone had good news to share from their week.
All in all, it was an exciting, rewarding and fun-packed experience. It truly felt like a place where everyone can belong.
Jigsaw Performing Arts is dedicated to developing performance skills, promoting self-expression and building confidence. We offer performing arts classes for children aged between 3 – 18. Find your nearest school by entering your postcode into the search on our home page.