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The Play’s The Thing: A bright star in Phuket

I have only met her in person once and it just so happened I was wearing a dress, false eyelashes, wig and gobs of makeup at the time. No, I wasn’t moonlighting in Bangla Rd; I was performing Widow Twanky in ‘Aladdin: A Christmas Panto’, at Underwood Art Factory. I instantly recognised her since we have been Facebook friends and have followed each other’s progress over the past few years, the reason being the similarity of our work goals. She is none other than the lovely Irish Vicki Kiely. I had the privilege of recently conducting a phone interview for this article with her. Here is what I learned. 

By Joel Adams

Sunday 9 May 2021, 11:00AM

Young stars shine during rehearsal for ‘The Witches’, to be performed in Phuket in May.

Young stars shine during rehearsal for ‘The Witches’, to be performed in Phuket in May.

Vicki is a passionate promoter of the performing arts and a dedicated proponent of animal care and welfare. She volunteers the one free day she has in her busy week as Social Media and Experience Manager at the Khao Sok Elephant Sanctuary. You may very well have seen her on Facebook, promoting her goal of ensuring a vastly improved life for all the marvelous elephants we have on our island and our adopted country. Keep up the good work, Vicki.

This article being about theatre, let’s get back to Vicki’s performance career and theatrical pursuits. She studied acting at Gaiety School of Acting, Ireland’s leading drama school, in Dublin. She went on to receive her drama teaching diploma at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Besides performing conventional and musical theatre over the years, she has written, sung and recorded many songs. I came across a delightful album of four songs from her on Spotify.

Here in Phuket, where she has lived the last eight years, she founded VK Performers Studio in Boat Avenue, Cherng Talay, about four years ago and is presently its owner and drama/singing teacher.

The goal of her work is to nurture confidence and self-esteem in youth through the love of the performing arts, and from what I’ve seen of her kids and activities on social media, she is doing a great job of it. We discussed our vision and methods a little and we both agreed that the very most important element in a theatre classroom is an atmosphere of safety, fun and friendliness, that the theatrical classroom should be a safe space where one feels accepted and appreciated. In short, theatre for kids should be fun, even therapeutic when needed. We both have seen shy and reticent young people find a voice and confidence through theatre and emerge like butterflies from a cocoon.

Her studio is located at 49/71-72 Boat Avenue in Cherng Talay. She and her partner Mike Mitchell offer classes in singing, musical theatre, public speaking, acting, instruments, music production and song writing to students from 3 to 18. She also teaches LAMDA classes. LAMDA stands for the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and is perhaps the oldest English-language acting school in the world, dating back to 1865. Students can receive their training anywhere in the world and be tested by LAMDA examiners, receiving certification for their achievements. In Phuket presently VK, HeadStart International School, BISP, and Theatrix all conduct LAMDA classes. You can contact VK Performers Studio at: 092 285 9514 or vkperformersstudio@gmail.com.

Blue Tree Phuket

At the moment she is working with a group of students on a play adapted from Roald Dahl’s famous story, ‘The Witches’, by David Wood. This very fun play will be performed by her cast of 15 young actors ranging from 7 years old to 13 at the Grapevine in Cherng Talay on May 15 and 16. If you would be interested in seeing this, there are a limited number of seats, so call VK Performers Studio to inquire. I definitely plan on going out and watching it. 50% of any money made will go to the Khao Sok Elephant Sanctuary, Vicki told me.

Her latest initiative is a series of online classes that she is now filming called VK Creative Kids for which she is creator, host and songwriter. So look for that as well. 

I had a lot of fun in our telephone interview (I think she did too or else she’s an even better actor than I thought), and by the end we were discussing the idea of our acting together in a two-hander. Since then, I have been looking for just such a script or idea that we could do together. That’s one of the things I love most about the theatre world, how theatre groups, rather than seeing themselves as competition, often cooperate to provide much-needed creative input, and I look forward to working with Vicki and her team in the future to provide our island with exciting theatre and performances for all ages.

Joel Adams is building a vibrant thea­tre community right here in Phuket. You can contact him at theatrixphuket@gmail.com or by phone on 093 6490066. Facebook: Theatrix Group

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