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Curtains-up on theatre experience for learners

Posted onPosted on 11th Jan
Curtains-up on theatre experience for learners

Budding actors and performers at West Nottinghamshire College have been soaking up knowledge and advice from theatre professionals and a West End actor during their annual industry week.

Musical theatre students kicked-off the new term by learning the moves of Bollywood dancing through Midlands-based company Bollywood Dreams. Learners recreated dance routines from Bollywood musical films and learnt different styles of Indian dance.

Later in the week (4 to 8 January), the same group of students welcomed West End actor James Nelson who led workshops similar to a professional theatre audition day.

James, who studied at the London School for Musical Theatre, was part of the male ensemble with well-known London musical Spamalot.

James said: “I’ve been teaching the students what it’s like in a West End audition – giving them tips to impress audition panels ready for when they go on to audition at stage school or within the industry.

“We’ve done a dance audition workshop and also practiced some music harmonies and solos, and I’ve been pushing them to give their best performance.”

Meanwhile, first and second-year student actors on the Extended Diploma in Performing Arts course met with artists from the In Good Company project – a three-way partnership between the college’s Create Theatre, Derby Theatre and Attenborough Arts in Leicester. It is the professional development programme for artists in the East Midlands, led by Creative Producer Ruby Glaskin.

Students learnt more from Ruby and colleagues about working in the performance industry, including how to start up a theatre company and what it is like to work as an actor with a small-scale touring theatre.

Education manager at Mansfield’s Palace Theatre, Chris Neil, also paid a visit during the week to deliver workshops and auditions to students. This marked the start of the forthcoming new writers’ project, which was won last year by Jack Burrows, a student on the college’s BA Applied Studies (Theatre) programme.

The project offers the opportunity for playwrights based in the East Midlands to put forward an idea for a stage play, or a completed play, for consideration. It will culminate in rehearsals and two performances during the Easter period.

Curriculum manager for performing arts, Kerry Pilcher, said: “It’s been an action-packed and very interesting week. Students have learned new skills and significantly developed their industry knowledge and, of course, had an enormous amount of fun along the way.”