Actress Charlie Brooks on her perfect Surrey weekend
PUBLISHED: 11:33 11 November 2016 | UPDATED: 11:33 11 November 2016
Spending her down time teaching students how to act, sing and dance may be like a busman's holiday for former EastEnders actress Charlie Brooks, but she loves it so much, she does it twice a week. With two stage schools in Surrey, does she have time for anything else in her life? Here we find out...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2016
My Friday night usually begins with reviewing my lesson plan for the following morning’s classes at the Mark Jermin Stage School in Thames Ditton. I like to go to bed early on a Friday night and get a good night’s sleep if I can, as I find that teaching 70 children for four hours or more can be quite exhausting! My daughter, Kiki, and I might watch a film together curled up on the sofa, or have friends over for an early dinner before settling down for the night.
My Saturday begins with an early morning walk with my dog, Boo. I then head to Thames Ditton Junior School to begin teaching. First up are the four to seven-year-olds. This is a really fun class, full of games and improvisation and even some script work! They love to show off.
My next class is for eight to 16-year-olds. Once again, it’s great fun. It’s very challenging, but so rewarding! We do lots of drama-based games, more detailed script work with dancing and singing too.
Surrey show time
My weekends were recently jam-packed with rehearsals for our production of The Little Mermaid, which we put on at the Hampton Hill Theatre for hundreds of parents, carers, friends and family. I found myself juggling kids left, right and centre. Some were coming to my house to go over certain routines, just to build their confidence and ensure that they were happy with their scenes. Luckily, all the hard work paid off and the show was a roaring success. I was immensely proud of every single one of them. They had a blast!
On a Saturday afternoon, I might catch up with some of the mums from class, maybe enjoying a barbecue with a little glass of wine. Otherwise, I sometimes like to head to Kingston for a bit of shopping. My favourite Saturday evenings consists of cooking for friends, or heading out to dinner. I like to treat myself to a theatre trip and dinner in central London every couple of weeks. However, you can’t beat a good local pub, especially in Surrey. They’re all so good!
On Sundays, I like to have a lazy morning. I love to potter round the house, getting all my chores done for the coming week. Kiki and I also enjoy going to the cinema. The Everyman in Esher is fantastic! Love those comfy sofas! The Medicine Garden in Cobham is also a lovely place to head for afternoon tea and some relaxation; nothing too strenuous. Sunday is my day to relax and spend quality time with the family. The Petersham Nurseries is a wonderful place to go for lunch on Sundays – make sure you book in advance though; it gets very busy but is worth the wait.
As well as having my own career to consider, I’m always thinking about all of the budding talent coming through the stage school. There are so many talented kids around us and some real stars in the making! So much so, I’ve opened another stage school this year in Cobham. This time, an acting academy to focus on television, film and theatre work, where we learn improvisation skills, current film and television drama scripts as well as developing professional camera and audition techniques.
So, Sunday evening is usually spent preparing for the academy lessons and then off to bed and, although my head may well be under the stars, I’m really thinking about my little budding stars that make me so proud.
• The Mark Jermin Stage School runs every Saturday at Thames Ditton Junior School, Thames Ditton, from 10am to 11am (juniors) and from 11am to 2pm (seniors). The Cobham Acting Academy runs every Wednesday at St Mary’s Church Hall, Parkside School, near Stoke D’Abernon, Cobham, from 4.30pm to 6pm (juniors) and from 6pm to 7.30pm (seniors). For more information, call 01792 458855 or see markjermin.co.uk