What a wonderful world!

Picture by Ryan McGuire

Up until recently the closest I have ever got to the performing arts scene was at the pub after 6 points of Guinness on a Saturday night. Moves made toward the bar or bathroom may have been unorthodox in technique and choreography, but I certainly nailed facial expression and made a lasting overall impression.

Seriously though, appearing in the limelight has never appealed, for two reasons really:

  1. I have a distinct lack of talent, and
  2. I am an incredibly shy, retiring and reserved man

Despite my lack of natural timing, rhythm, and the inability to hold a note let alone recognise one, I absolutely adore music and dance. The private shows I put on at home are a sight to be seen and a treasure to be heard!

Shyness is a family trait, my entire family can be described as shrinking violets, lovely people with important things to say, but never quite getting around to actually saying them. Geneticists believe that on Chromosome 11 there are dopamine receptors (DRD4) which may influence whether a person will be shy and retiring or outgoing. So, while it may be early days, scientists believe that there is a strong possibility shyness is genetic. And of course, as well as being a learned behaviour.

Picture by Ryan McGuire

Every parent wishes the best for their son or daughter. And Kate my wife and I recognised early on that our daughter Maddie had probably inherited the same shyness gene that we had. We did all the usual things parents do, we encouraged her, and we tried to give her strength, giving her the tools so she could find her own voice.

Unlike her father, Maddie can actually hold a note, Maddie can dance. She’s proved this to us on the 1,500 shows she has put on for us since the age of 3! So, we encouraged Maddie to explore her creativity and get some training; that was less than 6 months ago.

Maddie joined the A Star Academy in February and started doing jazz dance, singing and drama. And now, the young person she is today is so different from the young person she was not so long ago. Yes, she has learnt some pretty amazing Performing Art’s skills, thanks to the expert tuition she has received from Lucy Moignard, but equally important to me is that Maddie is more confident, she is more self-assured and she has learnt that the harder you work on things the more you get out of them.


This weekend I had the privilege of watching Maddie and her fellow A Star mates perform and I was impressed on so many levels. The talent Lucy has groomed and coached is apparent to all and the way all the performers held themselves both on and off the stage was very impressive. It seemed a very supportive, relaxed calm environment (despite the inevitable last minute nerves). No Diva’s allowed – at least it seemed that way to me (I must tell Maddie that!)

Yes, watching from the sides has given me an insight into the world of Performing Arts, and what a wonderful world it is!

Kia Ora Roly

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