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Tahra’s Jigsaw Journey

Tahra's Jigsaw journey

Tahra describes her Jigsaw journey. Tahra went from a Jigsaw student to youth theatre to assisting and managing classes to working at Jigsaw’s head office: 

As a child I was very ‘dramatic’ (whatever that means!). I come from a line of teachers and performers, so as you can imagine, I had a large costume and make up selection that was historically accurate to play with. I would take a bag behind the sofa at my Nan’s house and re-appear 15 minutes later, fully kitted out as Bette Midler ready to sing “Wind Beneath My Wings” to my adoring audience of teddy bears and Barbies. I was a walking episode of “Stars In Your Eyes”.

 

Tahra: My parents knew they had to do something with me!

After attending a string of after school clubs, holiday workshops and various weekend schools, in September 2007 I found Jigsaw and absolutely fell in love. I knew that it was the place I had to be. I couldn’t stop talking about it to everyone and anyone. I still can’t. The best thing about Jigsaw was that I got to learn things that I would have never picked myself. I learnt every kind of dance genre you can imagine, movie scripts, Michael Jackson medleys, amazing musical theatre songs and even Bon Jovi for our ‘Wild Wild West’ show! My teachers were amazing and not only did I learn about performance skills and techniques, they taught me life skills and encouraged me to be confident in and out of Jigsaw. I can’t tell them enough how grateful I am for everything they have done for me.

I then went on to the Jigsaw Youth Theatre where I met an entirely new group of people. Students from all of the other Jigsaw Schools! For the first time, I realised Jigsaw wasn’t just the 3 hours in Crouch End on a Saturday morning that I thought it was. It was an entire network! The youth theatre was an amazing experience for me as it pushed me to bridge the gap between performing as a child and performing as an adult. I played some very extreme characters whilst I was there. My favourite being ‘Lucy’ in our production of “Bassett” by James Graham. A school girl on a sponsored silence through out the entire play! To this day she is the hardest character I have ever played.

Then there was the Connections Festival 2013. “Mobile Phone Show”. Jim Cartwright. The play of a lifetime. The play that took me to the National Theatre. Onto the Olivier stage, named after the great Laurence Olivier, where some of the world’s greatest actors had performed. It was the weirdest musical ever written but I can count on one hand without using all of my fingers (or my thumb) the times in my life I have felt the way I did that night. It was all because of Jigsaw.

 

Tahra: Then I became a member of staff…

I had been assisting for Jigsaw from the age of 17 but after I had finished 6th Form I knew university wasn’t the place from me, so I decided to apply for an office job with them. Here I am now, Office Administrator, School Manager and Performing Arts teacher. I was able to apply all of the skills I had learnt from my teachers into my own classes and my own life.

 Of course, it is a different world when you become a teacher. You suddenly realise all of the hard work that goes into one class at Jigsaw but, at the same time, you are still constantly learning form others around you. You get to know what is best for your teachers and the children in the school and, most importantly, you get to see children grow in confidence and ability. That is the greatest reward as a manager and a teacher.

Even though I’m not starring in a film along side Brad Pitt, I like to think I have done all of my Jigsaw teachers proud.

Thank you Jigsaw for an amazing seven years.

Many more to come!

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