My name is Claire Parsons and I have been running youth theatre companies in and around Leicestershire and Rutland since September 2001. Parsnips Drama Workshops began while I was looking for work as an actress. I wanted a job that kept me involved with the theatre and gave me the flexibility to go to auditions... And so Parsnips began in 2001 after I graduated (so named because of my nickname Parsnip). With the help and support of Nick Lewis and the wonderful Harborough Theatre, I started with one small group of ten children on a Tuesday afternoon, which has now grown to about 250 young people every afternoon and evening. This includes the young people I work with at Parsnips Youth Arts in Uppingham, Parsnips sister company run by myself and Ria. I never believed it would take off the way it did, and I love it. The young people I work with are talented, bright, enthusiastic and dynamic and every day I wake up in the morning and can't wait to get to work... I'm very lucky.
Over the years we have had some wonderful news as well with four students from Parsnips and one student from Parsnips Youth Arts making it into the prestigious National Youth Theatre, one of our girls acting for the Disney Channel, the BBC and making, to date, three films; students excelling in technical theatre and landing prolific roles at the new Curve theatre in Leicester, many students winning cups and trophies at the Leicester Competitive drama festival and a large number of students going on to study theatre at university. That being said, Parsnips is not just about accomplishing things in the theatre, many of our students keep drama as a hobby and have achieved outstanding things in other areas of their life. We try to support them in any way we can in whatever they choose to do. Whatever their passion or focus, they are part of our family and we are very proud of them all.
We are proud to say that in recent years, many Parsnips have won awards at the National One Act play Festival through our ties with Harborough Theatre. Past awards include, overall winner, best actress, best youth performer, best stage presentation, best director (for John Foreman), adjudicators award and runners up. Some of these trophies have been won several times and we also have an incredible time participating.
Parsnips helps to educate young people in theatre practice as well as confidence, social skills and team building skills and every year we put on several originally written plays that the cast help create as well as a smattering of pre-written productions including Shakespeare and Moliere! No experience is necessary - that's what we're here for!
“Go for it, risk it, follow your heart; Make life an adventure, make it an art”