Thursday, April 19 , 2018, 6:55 pm | Fair and Breezy 66º

 
 
 

The Adderley School Empowers Kids to Find Their Voice, Confidence On Stage

Founder Janet Adderley uses acting, singing and dancing as stepping stones to nurture students in pursuit of much more

Celebrating 10 years in Santa Barbara, The Adderley School has brought hundreds of children’s performances to the stage. “As I say to the parents, acting and singing and dancing are only the gimmick,” founder Janet Adderley says. “We are in the business of empowering children, of helping them find an inner confidence that their individual voice is worth paying attention to.”
Celebrating 10 years in Santa Barbara, The Adderley School has brought hundreds of children’s performances to the stage. “As I say to the parents, acting and singing and dancing are only the gimmick,” founder Janet Adderley says. “We are in the business of empowering children, of helping them find an inner confidence that their individual voice is worth paying attention to.” (The Adderley School photo)

The Adderley School began with Janet Adderley’s daughters. When she and her two daughters, Akina and Alana, moved to Pacific Palisades in 1997, two things became very clear.

“When my oldest (daughter) walked into a room, everyone gravitated to her,” she said, “but my youngest, Alana, was painfully shy.”

To help her “lavender girl” acclimate to her new environment, Adderley became very involved at their school. She eventually revealed her theater and television background and was asked to coach the kids in a school musical. Parents were so impressed with the production quality that they requested an after-school program run by Adderley.

As Adderley watched her daughter bloom in school, she continued to coach other children, eventually opening her flagship studio in the Palisades, now entering its 25th year. Celebrating 10 years in Santa Barbara, The Adderley School has brought hundreds of children’s performances to the stage.

The Santa Barbara community has embraced The Adderley School, receiving endorsements from the “who’s who” of the city, including Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe, Ivan Reitman and Kenny Loggins.

“It’s been a glorious 10 years,” Adderley said.

And, Adderley certainly gets a kick out of watching her students perform.

“It’s one thing to do it yourself, and I have had a wonderful career,” said the Broadway, film and television actress. “It’s another to live through the children you’ve nurtured. I’ve been doing this long enough to be able to see the fruits of my labor in a big way.”

Adderley has privately coached some current television and film stars, including Modern Family actress Sarah Hyland (Haley Dunphy), Pitch Perfect actor Ben Platt (Benji), and Lily James, who stars as Cinderella in Disney’s much-anticipated remake this spring.

While acting, singing and dancing are what kids will be doing at The Adderley School, Adderley has different ideas about what is to be learned from these activities.

“As I say to the parents, acting and singing and dancing are only the gimmick,” she said. “We are in the business of empowering children, of helping them find an inner confidence that their individual voice is worth paying attention to.”

For kids who are serious about acting, Adderley encourages them to participate in Santa Barbara Youth Ensemble Theatre, a semi-professional theater for local talent, ages 6-17. The quality of these performances can be seen in the upcoming SBYET performance of Into the Woods on May 16-17 at the Lobero Theatre.

However, while your child may not be a future Broadway star, rest assured that the sense of accomplishment and identity that they feel onstage during their time at The Adderley School will stay with them into adulthood.

(The Adderley School photo)
(The Adderley School photo)
(The Adderley School photo)
(The Adderley School photo)

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