Debbie King

The Talentz

“It all started eleven or twelve years ago over in Surrey where I was working as Head of Music at a school at the time; one of the parents asked me to put on a musical theatre summer school for primary and secondary school ages. As they say the rest is history! That first summer school developed into Talentz Musical Theatre School- first it was classes, then we made the move to Tunbridge Wells and now have branches in Tonbridge and Sevenoaks, alongside productions (both locally and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival), pantomimes, workshops, we are linked to an agency, we do LAMDA… it just keeps growing!

Talentz is now my full-time job. It’s really lovely and was always my aim – it’s about self-expression, getting kids more confident, nurturing their talent and using their confidence to stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.

You have to be confident and speak in every job you do in life, you have to meet people and you have to talk to people in every walk of life, so it’s all about building those skills and having lots of fun! We now put on full-scale productions, including panto and full-youth panto, which is quite an undertaking. We also do the Edinburgh Fringe Festival every year, which is the most amazing experience! If you want to get into performing it’s the best thing for your CV, it’s just a completely different experience to performing a run in a regular theatre and is the most fun!

One of the incredible things about founding the Fringe Festival here in Tunbridge Wells was seeing a group of recent drama graduates come up from Chichester University (A Company Of Six) to do the whole experience of living here all together for the week, like we do in Edinburgh- one of whom first started doing theatre at Talentz many many years ago! It is amazing seeing students go from their first Talentz class through our productions, off to study and then come full circle when they come back to Tunbridge Wells Fringe Festival with their own theatre companies!

When working as a team on a show you become so close, which is why we all get the ‘show blues’ afterwards but knowing that people are developing is really rewarding. We’ve got a few going off to drama schools and universities again this year and watching them further their careers and then watching them perform is just amazing, knowing that we played a part in that journey is phenomenal. Watching the kids that come to us that are just scared of speaking, the ones that haven’t got the confidence and seeing them develop into confident people is so rewarding. We just did summer school (Moana and A Week in the West End) in the EM Forster Theatre and to be back in that environment was just amazing, it was just like home and was brilliant, the creativity of performing and theatre is what I love.

We now have three branches (Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Sevenoaks) which I oversee and I’m hoping to get bigger and bigger and develop more. We rehearse in schools in each area but eventually I would love to have our own studio- that’s my end goal and hopefully it will be happening soon. Having our own studio here in Tunbridge Wells will be amazing, we rehearse here every weekend but if we had our own studio, we could rehearse in the week too. The future is our own studio and more branches.”

About the business

Specialists in the teaching, training and development of children and young adults in the skills and attributes of the performing arts. We give our students unique opportunities to grow and develop their life skills, creativity and character, using performance, singing, dancing and acting.

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