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A recent weekend away from Aberdeen at the Junior Theatre Festival in Birmingham was a great reminder that musical theatre is so much more than just performing in or watching a show. Almost by osmosis, it equips children with the skills they need for school and beyond. Here, Rachel shares how AAPA’s dance and gymnastic classes could set your children up for life… 


So, ten students and three teachers set off for Birmingham… Then ten students, three teachers and TWO AWARDS returned! But not only that – the experience reinforced some of the most important life lessons you can learn from being part of a performing arts group… 

  • Stick at it and good things will come

Each group chose a musical and performed a 10-minute show for a panel of three judges from the UK and America. Ours was from The Little Mermaid, and everyone came together to rehearse for three weeks beforehand. With a group of ten youngsters during this still-strange post-pandemic phase, commitment was crucial. And it paid off! We won the Achievement in Ensemble award! 

  • You’re always learning

We had musical theatre students from nine to 18-years-old and, of course, the younger students learned from the older ones. But the older students learned, too. It’s never too young to craft leadership and management skills, is it?

  • Teamwork is EVERYTHING

Everyone pulled their weight, coming together through singing and harmony to create something of real value… Such an important life skill!

  • Combining mental and physical strength will get you far

In a scene about Ursula (if you know, you know!) we needed to create the feeling of being under the sea. So, naturally, we had a sequence of seaweed! Let’s just say, having the inner strength and resilience to move your arms for two minutes as seaweed (while singing!) is no mean feat. And let me tell you, the phrase: “You don’t want to just be a piece of seaweed – you want to be the best piece of seaweed in the ocean” was used a lot!

  • Everyone is important

You know what? The scene wasn’t actually about the seaweed. But without it helping the audience see and feel the water moving, Ursula’s moment in the limelight wouldn’t have been half as captivating. In other words, there are no small parts in a musical – or in life. For your child to accept at a young age that every wheel in an organisation is important (and without one, the machine won’t work) is truly invaluable. 

  • A win for one is a win for the team

Our Archie, won an Outstanding Performer Award for his portrayal of Sebastian, the crab. He was one of just four winners selected from HUNDREDS of competitors. And do you know the best bit? His team was delighted and said it felt like they’d won, too! Would Archie have won without his teammates? It’s impossible to say. But what we can say is that he wouldn’t have shone so bright on stage without his fish, jellyfish and seaweed companions. They set the scene and allowed him to perform to the very best of his ability – and win! 

So, there you have it – our dance and gymnastics classes will teach your children skills they need for school and beyond, from day one! 

And remember, the next time you see a child on stage – even if they are just a piece of seaweed – the process of musical theatre and performing is so, so, SO much more than that.