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Where Shaun’s Passion for the Performing Arts Began!

Shaun, Franchisee of Jigsaw Sevenoaks and Jigsaw Hitchin shares his story on what sparked his passion for the performing arts and teaching!

“When I was at school, I struggled with finding my place in the academic world. Learning in a classroom felt restricted and just wasn’t for me. I got expelled from school and received no GCCs or qualifications. So, I went straight to work when I was 15. Doing sheet metal work, but I knew this wasn’t what I wanted to do. 

I did always enjoy the drama and music lessons at school. And having these memories at the back of my head, along with not liking my job, inspired me to apply for college. The college was in Hitchin, it’s called Centre for the Arts. At the time, it was a phenomenal college which had such good performing arts facilities. And it was huge! Everyone came from here, there, everywhere, to attend. 

Despite not having the GCC’s that I needed, I was luckily given a chance. I’d have to do an extra year at college, but I was happy. I was accepted into the college and into their performing arts class. And I suppose from that moment, I discovered my passion. 

Over the three years that I was at college, I was inspired massively by my tutors. And was forever grateful that I was given that chance. Having gratitude for being able to attend education sounds really weird now… Because everyone has to stay in education until they are 18, but back then it wasn’t like that, it was a lot different. 

After three years of college, I achieved three A – Levels, discovered my passion, and had more of an idea of what I wanted to do with my life. Then one of my tutors, and I’ll never forget, told me that I needed to be in the performing arts industry. 

I was advised to go to University by my tutors and so I did. In the end, university didn’t work out for me. Yet, I still had that passion. And it was because of the people who believed in me. It was all because of Hitchin College. Even now, I’ll be forever thankful and grateful for them. 

Even though I stepped back from university, I knew what I enjoyed doing. I knew I enjoyed writing and being on stage. So, I started writing plays locally and then set up a community theatre company. And it just all kind of grew from there!

The company kept growing. Then I was writing original musicals, which was performed in Stevenage, to a sold out Gordon Craigfit, which is pretty big! We took the production to Cambridge Junction, and all these people that I met at Hitchin College all came to watch and support. Some people that I studied with back then were even in my shows. 

So now, being a Jigsaw Performing Arts School owner, I get to give students opportunities that I know mean so much to some. A place for our students to feel at home and express themselves freely through our singing, drama and dance classes. Jigsaw is a place to belong for our students, as much as it is for me.

I can genuinely split my time between working at Jigsaw, my theatre company, and my family and home life. There may be times in life where I’m not amazingly happy, but when I have Jigsaw to go to every weekend, it gives me that upliftment. It is really important to me!”

Learn more about the classes at Jigsaw Sevenoaks and Jigsaw Hitchin!