We are always excited to hear about our students’ achievements, from their end-of-term performances to professional roles in the arts. We recently caught up with student Efa from Stagecoach Pontypridd and her parents, Rhys and Siân, to learn about Efa’s Stagecoach journey so far and her recent role in the Welsh language children’s show Byd Tad-Cu.
Eight-year-old Efa joined Stagecoach Pontypridd in Autumn 2019 after her parents were recommended the classes. They said, “Efa has always loved singing and was a natural performer from an early age, so we wanted to find her a place where she could express herself.”
Of Efa’s start at Stagecoach, Rhys and Siân said, “Efa was always outgoing at home and with her friends but she tended to be a little reserved in new and unfamiliar situations. On her first day at Stagecoach she was a little unsure at the entrance even though [Principal] Heidi was friendly and encouraging. Another student came in for the class and Heidi asked her to accompany Efa to the classroom, which really helped Efa to settle in as she felt like she had already made a friend.”
Efa flourished at Stagecoach. “When I’m in class, I feel like “I can do this!””, she said. “The coaches are very inspiring. It’s lots of fun. I like that we get to perform the summer shows in an actual theatre. I’ve got some good friends at Stagecoach and they make me feel comfortable to be myself. They help me to get in the zone. I feel like we do amazing stuff there!”
Her favourite class at Stagecoach is acting with teacher Jess. Efa said, “I really like his voices - I try to copy him. I really like how he tells us to inspire ourselves.”
Then, the perfect opportunity to take Efa’s love of acting to the next level came up when her parents saw a Facebook post inviting young actors to audition for the second series of Byd Tad-Cu on Welsh TV network S4C. “It was the first time we’d seen an open audition and in an age range that Efa matched,” said Rhys and Siân. “She needed to submit a video introducing herself. Then she was invited to audition in the studio where she got to meet Tad-Cu (Grandpa). She worked really hard at learning her lines for the audition and it showed in her performance. She loved the experience and was excited to hear if she’d got the part.
“A few weeks later, we were all in the car when the email came through confirming that she’d been successful and would be appearing in four episodes! She was ecstatic, as we all were, and we were bouncing along in the car together.
“Efa appeared in the first episode of the series, which was broadcast on the last day of the summer holidays. We were staying at her grandparents’ house and we all got up early to watch it together as a family. Her little sister gave her a big bunch of flowers at the end of the programme. It was a special moment.”
Seeing herself on TV was naturally a surreal experience for Efa. On seeing her first episode she said, “It feels like, “what in the world, is it actually me?!” I’m too shocked to say anything!”
The filming experience taught Efa a lot about the world of TV. She said, “Between scenes, I liked talking to the actors, puppeteers and the crew. They were really nice to me. I liked seeing how they set up the green screen and moved things around for the different takes. When I was in the green screen studio I had to get in the zone to see the scene in my head - it was amazing to see what it actually looked like when it was on TV.”
Looking back over Efa’s journey since she started at Stagecoach four years ago, proud parents Rhys and Siân said, “Since starting at Stagecoach she has grown so much. It’s amazing to look back at how far she has come from her first day. She’s improved with each performance, taking on more demanding roles each season and enjoying every performance opportunity that she is given.
“She has always given her all at Stagecoach, and has had tremendous support and encouragement from the staff and fellow students. It’s a place where she can be herself, and she’s always so positive with a big smile on her face after leaving each class.”
Efa said the best thing she’s learnt at Stagecoach is that “When you’re on the stage, you don’t stay scared. The more I practice the more I get comfortable on stage.”
For those students interested in following her footsteps into the world of professional performing, Efa offered this advice, “Always try your best and never give up. When learning my words I like to use my imagination and say them in different voices.” Wise words and a huge congrats to Efa!
If you’d like to see Efa on Byd Tad-Cu, you can watch it now on BBC iPlayer. The series is in Welsh with optional English subtitles.