A different way to entertain

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 March 2014

Rob Pudner of Entertainingly Different regularly hosts workshops in Devon schools

Rob Pudner of Entertainingly Different regularly hosts workshops in Devon schools

Apex News and Pictures

Drama is much more than a performance for Rob Pudner of Devon theatre company Entertainingly Different. ELLIS TAYLOR talks to Rob about how his team is exploring the many uses of dramatic arts and what the benefits are

Sophie, Dexter and Rob in actionSophie, Dexter and Rob in action

For the past 18 years local drama enthusiast Rob Pudner has been bringing the dramatic arts to people across the county through his company Entertainingly Different.

With fellow members Sophie Turner and Dexter Newman, Rob provides a range of unique dramatic services which are fuelled by a passion for introducing drama and its benefits to a variety of people and groups.

“My first experience of performance was when I was about five and I was taken to Theatre Royal Plymouth by my mother to see Peter Pan with Bonnie Langford, and I just remember the theatre being so huge and vast,” explains Rob. “It was absolutely mind blowing.” From that first show, Rob’s love for performing arts grew.

Despite having a range of career aspirations throughout his school years, Rob’s desire to partake in drama remained and was fuelled by his secondary school drama teacher Nigel Crabb.

"We hope to inspire, enthuse and educate people"

“I had the most amazing drama teacher, he was just such an inspiration to me. He was very much somebody that didn’t want to act as a controller but more of a catalyst.”

It is clear that this catalyst style of leadership is something that resonates throughout all of Entertainingly Different’s work. Due to a huge range of qualifications, Rob and the team are able to cater the sessions to the needs of individuals in order to help them progress freely.

“A lot of the work I do, and my belief very much, is that drama and the arts is very holistic,” says Rob. “I think drama is all about developing those life skills, natural self esteem, self confidence, self control, and being a member of a team.”

Rob has kept close ties with past students from his nine years working with the youth theatre at the Plough Arts Centre in Great Torrington, where colleagues Sophie and Dexter were both members.

“It’s great to be able to give opportunities to members who have come back from working with me in the youth theatre.”

Entertainingly Different also runs alongside Transitions, which gives young actors and actors who have been out of work the chance to perform again and get paid for it. The company encourages actors to get back into the industry and gives them the confidence to start attending auditions up and down the country.

As well as helping those previously involved in the performing arts, Entertainingly Different frequently visits schools in Devon with workshops and sessions which cater for a range of needs.

“Schools are now looking for innovative approaches to teaching and ways to capture the children’s imaginations. Sometimes they want to address a particular issue and they want an external person to come in and deal with it,” explains Rob.

The company also uses these workshops to teach children about various topics, and provides training for teachers. “People do want to feel more confident and to be able to run a session on their own.”

Entertainingly Different are also frequently commissioned to create bespoke performances. This year they have been asked by RHS Rosemoor to create a piece based around the theme ‘Middle Earth’. The interactive performance will include live music and will tour across all four RHS gardens in the country.

By focusing on the needs of each group it works with, Entertainingly Different captures the full benefits of drama and the performing arts. “Drama can be used for all sorts of things whether it’s dealing with issue based problems, confidence building or learning something from the past,” says Rob. “We hope to inspire, enthuse and educate people.”

For more information on Entertainingly Different, visit entertaininglydifferent.co.uk

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