Who we are
“I believe everyone should have the opportunity to learn new things, to turn distant dreams into actual reality.”
Born and raised in Birmingham, Angela has always had a strong connection with community and performing. Although one of five children her parents always encouraged and supported the children trying different things. This has resulted in a diverse family with many talents almost entirely related to performing in one capacity or another. Like many local young girls Angela and her two sisters started dance classes at the local community centre, not realising then what an impact this was to have later in life.
“We’d always enjoyed dancing but learning in a structured way gave us a discipline we’d never experienced before."
Angela started her first real community project when she was just 12 years old, enlisting the help of her sisters and friends. She put on a series of shows over the school summer holidays using with the family garage for a theatre, the scene was set for all the local kids, “Our Backyard Theatre was only ever meant to be a one off a bit of fun because everyone was bored." My sisters and I made up a few songs and dances and performed them, however after the first show everyone kept asking us to do another. Word of mouth spread what were ding and soon our audiences grew with kids coming from the surrounding streets! By the time of our last show, we had quite a repertoire not just singing and dancing but with acting and comedy sketches it was a lot of pressure trying to think of new things to do at such a young age but seeing the excitement of the kids and how it captured their imagination was enough.”
Over the years that creative innovative passion has never died, being active in various community events, often in an advisory capacity. Angela has continued to endorse her own personal belief of giving back to your community and remembering what made you.
Angela Daniels Academy Director
“To be able to assist an individual achieve a personal goal or aspiration, is truly rewarding.”
Born and raised in Birmingham Shirley or the ‘entertainer’ as she is known, fulfils a lifetime desire to work with the community through the ARTS. Having very supportive parents allowed her to explore her interests in performing arts alongside mainstream studying. Shirley had an aptitude for Drama and in particular comedy and spoken word. Her first drama performance was at the Birmingham Repertory theatre at the age of 14, “ It was the best ever, I had to cry in one of my scenes and a little boy in the audience shouted are you alright girly?"
Shirley went onto perform many more youth theatre pieces and wrote her first Drama foundation children’s course at the tender age of 16, it was delivered to the local community. In adulthood, Shirley has enjoyed performing standup comedy, facilitating after dinner speeches and compereing.
Professionally Shirley is a qualified computer programmer, of which she states “ I can’t stand it, I always loved computers as a teenager but it was the physical genius of machines it that I liked… I should have been an engineer !” Shirley is also a trained mentor and mediator and has been able to deploy these skills within the realms of the Academy.
Shirl Parnell-Lea Academy Manager