Emma Hollingworth: A flair for the dramatic - youngsters’ talents are being showcased at Children’s Festival

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“Don’t put your daughter on the stage…”

Perhaps we should be heeding these words in our house as we tentatively think about getting drama lessons for our eldest offspring.

Ever since she could first speak (which seemed to be from the moment she came out) she has been a very active and confident child.

As a child I remember being the exact opposite – extremely shy. Every Boxing Day my parents’ friends would throw a huge party in their house. They were Jewish and this was their way of joining in Christmas celebrations without having to celebrate Christmas Day.

Instead everybody would be invited to this annual knees-up, including our family. And along with the adults were many children.

The house was huge and the two children of the family whose home it was had the run of the top floor.

This was decked out like a Wild West bar complete with saloon doors. I had never seen so many games. They even had their own TV and video (which was a novelty believe me at the time I was growing up!)

All the kids arriving at the party would immediately run up to the top floor and run wild among all the toys and games. Often the latest video release would be playing too – which was like Christmas all over again for us children.

My brother would be one of the children who ran off to the extraordinary playroom the moment he entered the house. But I remember clinging to my grandmother’s skirts instead; refusing to join in with children I didn’t know.

“But they’re playing Flash Gordon on the video,” my brother said as he tried to cajole me up the stairs. Sullenly I shook my head and clung even tighter to my Gran. And there I stayed all through the party; silently listening to the grown up talk rather than playing cops and robbers with my contemporaries.

My eldest daughter doesn’t appear to have inherited my shy gene at all. She is quite the opposite.

When a new person comes to the house they are made to sit down while she acts out a play she has made up in her head or they are forced to join in a game she has just invented. Her other favourite is to recite word for word books she listens to on CD late at night in bed.

As a tiny girl she used to impress people no end as she appeared to be reading her favourite book by doing it this way. It was only when I pointed out she had the book upside down that the illusion was shattered.

But her need to be noticed has definitely been increasing with age. Now it has got to the point where we need to find a platform for her performing. That is why we are toying with the idea of hooking her up with a local drama group.

Many schools across the city already have great drama groups and their talent is being showcased at the city’s annual Children’s Festival, organised by Sheffield City Council. The programme for this year’s festival, which is due to begin on June 20, is out now. For more information visit: www.sheffieldchildrensfestival.org