23 April 2021

Set Them Up For Success!


Earlier this week, I received a WhatsApp from an ecstatic mother.  

"... I just wanted to share with you how my child got 100% for her unprepared reading.  Her teacher even sent me a message saying she read beautifully... only one in grade 7 who read loudly and clearly... I can see the confidence she has since starting the Academy..."

What more could one ask for!  This is a student who has attended classes (some online!) faithfully for a year and a half.  She progressed from a primary aged class into a youth theatre class.  She has responded so well to our contant challenges in class, she has picked up on our enthusiastic demonstrations, and our developmental programme in seeping into the way she lives life outside of drama.  Life.  Skills.  She is picking up these vital skills and becoming skilled at life!

A few days later, I received a WhatsApp from a different mother, this time querying the opposite.  Her child (much younger) had just done an oral and feedback from her teacher was that it was incredibly soft, and the little one had held the paper in front of her face throughout the oral.  I encouraged the mom by letting her know that each child is different, and progresses at their own rate.  That this kind of development takes time.  And, most of all, I could confidently tell this mom that in the 22 years that I have been teaching this programme, I have never once witnessed a child, who attended our classes consistently for two years or more, not display a marked level of increased success in various aspects of life, both social, emotional and academic.

"A river cuts through rock, not because of its power but because of its persistence."                 - Nicky Gumbel

So this little one's teacher and I will take some extra time during her classes to coax the confidence, and to coach the speech skills, until it is embedded in her persona that she IS capable and competent.  The more opportunities we offer her to succeed in our classroom, the more programmed for success she will become outside of our classroom.  And her skill at doing life will grow.  

I look forward to hearing back from this same mother in a few months' time, reporting of grown confidence and improved communication skills, and of the rampant momentum that comes as successful experiences begin to multiply in her life. 

14 April 2021

Filling Those Gaps Left By Lockdown


Even though the world in which we currently find ourselves in is nowhere near the "normal" that we remember from 2019, as parents we all want our children returning to some form of normality.  For many of us, Lockdown and 2020 was filled with stress - the stress of not knowing, the stress of juggling work-from-home AND school-from-home, the stress of zero school in light of lack of connectivity, the stress of minimal socialing, the stress of loneliness, the stress of too much screen time, the stress of looming illness, the stress of financial shortfall... the list is long and varied.  

Although 2021 has not been a magic switch leading us back to pre-COVID life, it has brought with it a level of understanding that we did not have this time last year.  It has also brought the realisation that certain parts of "normal" are attainable for our children, if we are prepared to live cautiously and with constant consideration of the health of those around us.

Enter the Helen O'Grady Drama Academy.  Within our classes, our students are experiencing a beautiful (and new) kind of normal!  Seeing faces (although partially mask-obscured), greeting teachers, speaking out loudly, engaging in positive activities, interacting within a group, exercising imagination, socialising within safe protocols... the list is endless.  After months of living in bubbles of homes, screens and stressed parents, our students are able to have one hour of constant, positive reinforcement and connection with those around them.  We are filling in gaps left by Lockdown.

We have classes running across Port Elizabeth and in Uitenhage.  Get in on the ACTion - do the very best for your child and give us a call to find out more about what we do.

📞 041 367 1210  📲 083 652 2443  📧 vicky@helenogrady.co.za 

28 May 2018


The Helen O'Grady Drama Academy has a unique and special way of building incredible learning outcomes into the curriculum without placing performance pressure on our students!  A fair amount of role play takes place in each lesson - sometimes scripted and sometimes improvised, and sometimes individually and sometimes in pair or groups.  Role play is incredibly powerful when it comes to nurturing skills, and eventually learning outcomes, such as social awareness; problem solving; team work; awareness of one's natural responses as well as awareness of how others respond in situations; building compassion and empathy; leadership and many more.  All these skills are crucial in ensuring our children become young adults able to function well in society, and adapt to an ever-changing and challenging world.

To find out more about our classes:  041 - 367 1210 or vicky@helenogrady.co.za or www.helenogrady.co.za.   

26 July 2017


At school, our children are coached extensively on reading, writing and numeracy. Lessons, worksheets, tests, homework, exams, assignments, projects... all these activities focus on being able to read, being able express one's self in writing, and being able to work with numbers. And then, twice or three times a term, our children are expected to stand up in front of their peers and SPEAK... express themselves verbally, often in their second or third language. This is enough to induce panic attacks in children and parents alike! 

Coaching in verbal communication is something that is sorely lacking in many schools and yet, communicating with confidence is a vital life skill. Exposing our children to building confidence and communication skills will empower them to tackle any social or formal situation that comes their way with aplomb. At the Helen O'Grady Drama Academy, our prime aim is just that - to build confidence and communication skills in our students, using an international, award-winning drama programme as the learning medium. Classes are fun and constructive, and allow every student to develop in an non-intimidating and creative atmosphere. 

For more information, see www.helenogrady.co.za  Helen O'Grady Drama Academy or contact us on 0413671210 and vicky@helenogrady.co.za. 

22 February 2016

Celebrating Success!

"My daughter is one of your breeds - Helen O' Grady Drama Academy instilled confidence, communication skills and the ability to speak her heart with boldness at all times! She was with the Academy in Uitenhage for 6 yrs and she's our drama queen in the house! Thank you, Helen O'Grady Drama Academy, for what you have instilled in her. It can never be taken away!"

This is the heartfelt testimony of a happy mum from one of our studios in Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage. And there are countless others like it! Our students benefit long term from the confidence and self-esteem that they gain from our international, developmental programme. 

Classes run from Monday to Saturday, in locations across Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage. For more information, call 041 367 1210, or have a look at our website: www.helenogrady.co.za. 

20 May 2015


Being creative is all about the process that takes place to transform thought into action, to transform dream into reality, and concept to product.  Being creative in one's head only, without producing anything concrete is simply being imaginative!  Teaching our students, in the Helen O'Grady Drama Academy, to transform good ideas into ACTion on stage is a huge part of our curriculum.  Within the structure of an incredibly well thought-out curriculum, we train our students to imagine, to create and to present!  For many children, some of, if not all of these steps, can be daunting.  Our well trained teachers have specific methods that they employ to motivate and assist children to imagine scenarios, create those scenarios and then present them in class.  The pleasure and sense of achievement that our students experience as they conqueror these steps is magnificent! 

Being able to imagine, create and present in our structured and stimulating classes leads our students on to being able to imagine, create and present in other areas of their lives.  Reading, creative writing and public speaking improve for many children as a result.  Even problem solving in maths and understanding context in social sciences improves.

Our structured creativity genuinely stimulates all-round learning.

For more detail, contact our office on 041 367 1210vicky@helenogrady.co.za / www.helenogrady.co.za

Classes run every day, across Port Elizabeth and in Uitenhage, from Monday to Saturday, for ages 3 - 18 years.

23 June 2014

Nurturing Confidence, Teaching Success

It is incredible what success can do for our souls! Experiencing failure can often lead to further failure, as we become accustomed to a certain type of outcome. And it is the same with success - experiencing success leads us to recreate further successful experiences! Taking our students through successful Parent Presentations sets them up for success in other areas. Creating a successful experiences nurtures their self confidence and teaches them to believe in themselves. We can achieve so much when we believe in ourselves and our abilities! 

Preparing our students for successful presentations is just another step towards setting them up for SUCCESS in life!

14 June 2014

Confidence On Show!

Four primary aged classes performed their hearts out for proud family members at Erica Girls' Primary yesterday! There were many students for whom yesterday's performance was the first time they had been on stage, and the first time they had performed solo for their loved ones. It was incredible to see the sense of achievement growing in the students during the course of the afternoon, as well as the pride on the faces of those observing!

Our programme is extremely popular at Erica Girls' and, after almost a decade at the school, our four classes are still full to over flowing! 

For more information on where your child can attend classes, see our website www.helenogrady.co.za or phone our office on 0413671210. Building confidence and strong communication skills is what we specialise in, and it is our joy to see our students equipped and empowered!

26 May 2014

Parent Days Approach!

Excitement is high in classes as our teachers and students prepare to host their parents, friends and family at classes at the end of term!

Each Primary aged class will present a workshop-type demonstration, showing a cross section of work that the students cover in class during the term.  Speech work, movement, improvisation and script work will all be shown off to visitors!

01 May 2014

Training New Principals

It is always a privilege to train new Principals at our wonderful Head office here at the Helen O'Grady Drama Academy in Port Elizabeth!  Recently, Bronwyn Stammer joined us for a week of Induction Training as she prepares to take over as Principal of the established Garden Route Academy.  In addition to administrative training, we were able to host Bronwyn at several drama classes across PE, including Nasruddin; Al Azhar; Linton Grange; Sanctor; Triomf; Walmer and Erica were she was able to see our amazing, self-development programme in action. 

09 April 2014


Our Kindy Drama Programme caters for ages 5 - 8 year olds. We have several classes running in Port Elizabeth, including at the Al Azhar Islamic Institute. Our teachers are available to travel to pre-school classes during the mornings, enhancing the curriculum with an international, developmental drama programme.

Our classes aim to build confidence and communication skills - essential life skills for every child! Activities covered are speech, to build good speech habits; story telling; songs and rhymes; role play; creative movement & mime; etc. As always, our classes are fun!

For more information, see www.helenogrady.co.za or contact Vicky on 0836522443 / vicky@helenogrady.co.za

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