The Academy building may be closed but the music certainly has not stopped.
Over the past few weeks, students, staff, alumni and friends of the Academy have all been recording performances for everyone to enjoy virtually, under the social media hashtag #RAMplaysON.
From classical music to contemporary pieces, #RAMplaysON has enabled our community to showcase its incredible talent across the digital platforms of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
One recent contribution to #RAMplaysON was from Musical Theatre student Meesha Turner, who teamed up with her partner and Academy graduate, Stephenson Ardern-Sodje, to perform a medley from the Tony Award-winning musical, Hadestown. You can watch the full video on Instagram TV.
Meesha, who is one of this year’s Disney Theatrical Productions Scholarship recipients, and Stephenson, a previous Mackintosh Foundation Scholarship awardee, were initially inspired to contribute to #RAMplaysON after watching several of the entries that had been submitted.
‘Although we're both singers, we hadn’t sung together in a long time. We missed singing, so we thought it would be a great way to keep ourselves busy and hear our voices together. We also thought it would be a great way to show a unity between past and present Academy students,’ says Meesha.
The two selected to perform music from Hadestown as it is one of their favourite musicals.
‘The music is incredible, and it is a soundtrack that we both know very well. We felt that the message that ran through our chosen song was that even when you’re feeling lonely, there is always someone there who cares about you, and that we're better together. This resonated with us and we hoped that others would also be able to relate.’
Meesha, who is nearing the end of her studies at the Academy, says that she has absolutely loved her year so far:
‘I've learned so much and really grown as a performer. There have been so many highlights. Performing our tribute to Hal Prince, directed by Matt Ryan, was an experience I will never forget. It was incredible to create a show filled with such a variety of iconic material and perform it in the beautiful Susie Sainsbury Theatre.
‘Other highlights include some of the legendary people who have visited us to answer questions or host workshops and online masterclasses – Elton John, Thomas Schumacher, Imelda Staunton, Hadley Fraser, Rosalie Craig, Jenna Russell and Claude-Michel Schönberg, to name just a few!’
Meesha says that being the recipient of a Disney Theatrical Productions Scholarship has also given her amazing opportunities throughout the year.
‘Thanks to Disney, I have not only met Thomas Schumacher, the President of Disney Theatrical Group, who shared some insightful and wise words about the industry, but I was also invited to The Lion King's 20th anniversary gala performance at the Lyceum Theatre. It is such a prestigious company to receive a scholarship from, and it really boosts my confidence to know that Disney Theatrical Productions supports me.’
While she may not be able to attend any events in person currently, Meesha says that she and Stephenson intend to continue duetting together virtually while they wait for the lockdown to be lifted.
‘We definitely want to create something else. We're in the process of thinking of some other songs that might work well, so watch this space! In the meantime, we're both keeping fairly busy with creative projects.’
You can keep up to date with the latest from our #RAMplaysON campaign by reading our most recent round-up: https://www.ram.ac.uk/about-us/news