Say it Loud!

Written By: The Lowdown - Jan• 31•13

In terms of human communication it’s always very difficult to imagine how we would get along without speech. With estimates of approximately 6,800 languages spoken on earth, half of these are located in only eight countries; Papua-New Guinea 832, Indonesia 731, Nigeria 515, India 400, Mexico 295, Cameroon 286, Australia 268 and Brazil 234!


However the eight leading languages spoken in the world – again thanks to Google – we are reliably informed are: Mandarin 845M, Spanish 329M, English 328M, Hindi-Urdu 242M, Arabic 221M, Bengali 181M, Portuguese 178M, and Russian 144M!


With English still the official language ofZambiaand the language of instruction from upper primary school this means, therefore, that we avail our children of competence in a truly ‘International’ language. TheLusakaoffice of the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy has taken this educational responsibility to a higher level.


The brochure shouts out three words ‘Confidence, Communication and Creativity!’ The world-wide institution has been in existence for more than thirty years and opened its door inZambiathanks to the efforts of mother and daughter team, Janet and Carlyn  in January 2010.


What their curriculum entails is based on the fundamentals of ‘public speaking’ but is delivered in a style far removed from the dry old-fashioned way that we may be familiar with from our school life, even if our school held the track record for wins in ‘debating club’ . The technique marries the best of diction, dramatic production and developmental youth focused training to reach out to all children from 3 up to 18.


Janet, who spent most of her childhood in the Zambian school system has a sensitive understanding to the challenges that both government and private schools face in the country. But neither does Janet, as Principal nor Helen O’Grady, entertain any shortcuts in the delivery of their classes and the sacrifice has paid off.


Shy, withdrawn children blossom with the experience as much as their more forthright colleagues while their teachers strive to motivate each student to achieve their personal best. All the teachers are qualified drama teachers and undergo regular training in the Helen O’Grady Drama Programme.


Passing through the full curriculum allows students to graduate into the teaching programme or even directly into the world of the stage. So what looks like an extra-curricular activity could end up being a life-time occupation for some of the participants.


The Academy offers classes in certain schools roundLusaka, as well as private studio classes at St Columbus Church onNangwenya Rdbut Carlyn, as co-director, is always on the go taking the services to schools and private groups.  Adult classes are also held by arrangement.


For more information:, or    Tel: 0977 712-160 or 0978 532-143.

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