Meet the West End performers who are helping Rugby children rise and shine like stars

“We opened the academy to help kids with their mental health and confidence”
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Two West End performers who have experienced their own mental health battles are helping children in the Rugby borough rise and shine like stars.

Matthew and Clair Hobbs are the husband and wife team behind theatre academy Evolve, which currently has sessions in Harborough Magna and Cilfton.

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Matthew said: “The reason myself and my wife Clair opened the Academy up was to help kids with their mental health and confidence levels. A lot of dance schools and theatre school's can be very much results heavy and determine a child's worth by their scores in festivals.”

Young stars of the future at Evolve.Young stars of the future at Evolve.
Young stars of the future at Evolve.

The couple wanted to do the absolute opposite and teach the student, not the lesson.

“We put on two shows a year for the kids,” Matthew said.

"One of these involves current West End professionals, our latest one involved Raoul from Phantom of the Opera, Joker from Choir Of Man and a National Theatre performer.”

The couple have travelled the world with musicals on tours and have 25 years experience between them.

Matthew and Clair on the West End stage.Matthew and Clair on the West End stage.
Matthew and Clair on the West End stage.
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“We noticed a really common pattern of poor mental health in the industry, lots of self doubt and anxiety issues,” added Matthew.

"Myself and Clair have had our own battles with mental health in the industry; there's been so many cases of poor practise from the casting area that it really does affect you.”

They launched Evolve to create a safe, confidence-enabling environment for children.

Matthew said: “We help them build that self esteem, so that when they do have challenging times in performing or even at school, they have/had the positive experience to fall back on.

"We’re looking forward to opening our own place in Rugby itself. Watch this space!”

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