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Learning is magic!

Posted onPosted on 30th Jan

The mystique of close-up magic wowed trainee performer students at West Nottinghamshire College.

Award-winning performer Matthew McGurk took to the Create Theatre stage as the spotlight was shone on a variety of arts professionals, who gave performing arts learners the chance to explore future careers during industry week activities.

Matthew performs magic at corporate and social events as well as running a successful talent booking and events management company with his partner.

He gave students demonstrations of some of his tricks, while describing his path to success and the work he puts into an online magic course.

Chris Neil, learning and aspiration manager at Mansfield Palace Theatre, led students through a specialist workshop around getting involved in work placement opportunities with the Leeming Street-based theatre.

Learners were able to show off their acting skills with their monologue auditions through the Write Track project, which Chris gave valuable feedback on, as students begin to think about auditioning for university or drama schools across the country.

The college’s creative and digital learner development coach Paula Hyde gave an insight into her competitive hobby as she provided a practical ballroom dancing lesson.

Paula recently made the final of Champions of Tomorrow in Blackpool with her dance partner, Michael Dobson, and they were placed sixth out of 36 in the pre-champ competitions at the Winter Gardens.

Fourth Monkey drama school offered a practical workshop, which enabled students to perform their own monologues.

Melissa Robson, who studies on the Advanced Performing Arts Practice in Acting and Performance course, said: “Industry week was amazing and filled with so many opportunities to learn about the performing arts industry.

“It was so nice to meet people who were in the position we are in at college right now. It was a reminder of the opportunities that wait for us.

“I loved getting the chance to do a workshop with Fourth Monkey drama school. It was such a fantastic opportunity to experience a day in the life as a drama school student and see what I could experience if I decided to go there.”

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’s learning and participation co-ordinator, Bethan Barke, joined the performing arts curriculum to advise on the options to study performance arts at Higher Education level and discussed the variety of careers available in the creative industries.

Bethan led a monologue preparation session to aid performing arts students in their audition processes for both higher education and the professional industry.

Performing arts’ programme area leader Simon Watt added: “The industry week is something that we all look forward to and this year’s line-up did not disappoint.

“Notable highlights had to be students’ reactions to Matt McGurk’s close-up magic, the fantastic energy and fun in Paula’s ballroom and Latin dance class, and a full day of intensive workshops with Fourth Monkey.

“The week gives us opportunities to maintain existing relationships and forge new links with employers and higher education providers.

The new link with Fourth Monkey has already seen many of our second-year students apply with one-to-one online auditions, while the Write Track project has now been going for over a decade, with our current crop of students now setting the wheels in motion for the latest round of performance in April.”