Musical Theatre classes and activities

As well as landing roles in West End shows and productions abroad, our graduates also go on to work in TV, film, plays, operetta, pop music, recording, self-production, directing and choreographing. Read more...

Our year groups become a close-knit community of colleagues. When you come to the Academy, you join our strong and successful network of graduates.

After an intensive training period in Musical Theatre, our students are well-equipped to make the most of their opportunities in what is a fiercely competitive environment.

 
In the Academy’s Musical Theatre Faculty, we do not simply teach musical theatre; we provide you with a final year of training to develop your individual skills and prepare for professional careers. Our students are passionate performers who can transform to suit every situation in the diverse and ever-evolving world of Musical Theatre.

Over the course of the intensive nine-month programme, Musical Theatre students participate in:

Agents’ Showcase and Productions

Students take part in a showcase with an invited audience of agents and casting directors, and full-scale musical productions with band or orchestra, which are normally radio-miked. In 2015 the final projects were fully staged productions of Amour and Carousel – and a Noël Coward cabaret, ‘A Talent to Amuse’, at the St James Studio Theatre. At the end of the year, students performed in ‘How to Succeed in Business’ at the City of London Festival.

During the programme, students also work with hand-held and stand-microphones.

In 2014 the department celebrated its 20th anniversary with a gala performance at the Prince Edward Theatre, featuring alumni currently active on the West End stages. In addition, the students took part in a concert of songs by Cole Porter at Cadogan Hall, with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, and the Christmas Special of ‘Friday Night is Music Night’ on BBC radio and television.

Project Performances

Scenes from shows, plays and musical reviews are rehearsed and performed in the first term. These allow you to work intensively on smaller-scale projects, further helping to ensure that you gain experience in a range of roles and genres. In the second term, projects extend to whole musicals.

Singing Lessons and Repertoire Coaching

Each week you will receive a one-to-one singing lesson, repertoire coaching sessions and a spoken voice tutorial.

Dance and Movement

Dance is taught three days a week at two levels (introductory and advanced jazz). Tap and actors’ movement are held once a week.

Acting and Spoken Word

Classes cover building a character, the rehearsal process, improvisation, texts, sight-reading and audition work. Tutorials are given in voice science and its practical application to speaking and singing, text and language, accent work and vocal health.

Integration of Acting and Singing

Weekly classes encourage you to develop your individuality as a performer and to match your vocal quality and texture to the acting demands of a song.

Masterclasses and Workshops

Recent visiting artists have included Andrew Lippa, Jeremy Sams, Gareth Valentine, Tony Castro and Maria Freidman.

Audition Preparation and Project Work

We organise mock auditions with industry professionals and help you prepare for professional auditions in a variety of performance genres.

Dance

The primary objective of the dance course is to introduce or nurture skills that will be appropriate in a dance audition situation. You will develop the skills to be able to replicate dance combinations demonstrated by a choreographer or teacher. The dance course concentrates on three vital elements: musicality, empathy and technical ability.

Movement

These classes are to designed to build confidence and cultivate a natural sense of physicality. With a creative and collaborative approach to the work we set up a safe environment to try things
out and stretch our boundaries without fear of ‘doing it wrong’. Looking at solo and ensemble movement, including contact and partnering work, we aim to create complex choreography from simple building blocks.

The focus is on telling a story through movement in the first term. Later in the year you will start to combine text/song and movement to make these combinations seamless. These classes give you the opportunity to become collaborators – valuable members of a devising process – and thinking performers.

Sight-Reading and Musical Awareness

You will have weekly classes in sight-reading and will be given many opportunities to practise your skills – including the ensemble singing classes and rehearsals in the first term, and the new music workshops in the second. You also take classes in musical awareness, so you can investigate your instinctive reaction to style, idiom and genre, and you will also study musical and textual structure. This involves extensive practical improvisation and aural training within many styles of music, from contemporary musical theatre, through soul, to classical aria.

History of Musical Theatre

This is studied in weekly sessions that combine listening and commentary on operettas from Offenbach and Strauss to present-day musicals.