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already have ready-made space, and even if they don’t currently offer classes for adults, they may well think differently if you and your colleagues showed them there was enough demand). Alternatively, you and a group of like-minded friends from your society could club together and employ a local actor or singing teacher to run a group class for you all. Indeed, I have been asked by several societies to visit them and lead workshops on audition technique, which I have really enjoyed and, I’m told, the participants have found invaluable. If, however, you’re keen to take your learning to another level, short courses or summer schools, run by established drama and musical theatre colleges are an excellent option to explore. These last anywhere from one day to three weeks and you’ll be taught by staff members of the school concerned, as well as visiting professionals, like me, who are currently working in the industry. I have worked with many schools, both teaching classes and viewing final auditions or presentations, giving feedback and advice for improvement to the participants. As well as giving you the knowledge and confidence to boost your success when auditioning for your dramatic or operatic society, these courses will also give you transferable skills, which you can adapt for use in your daily >>>

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perspective and views. Hearing all these stories gave me even more food for thought. Would the ensemble member’s attitude have been different if he had been playing a role with more to do in the show? It also got me thinking why shouldn’t people want to improve and raise their game by taking classes that will help them to go further with their hobby? After all, people who pursue other hobbies do exactly that, yet have no real urge to turn professional. Amateur photographers, for instance, study and work hard on getting the perfect shot and exposure, rather than just pointing the camera in the rough direction of their subject and snapping away. Cooks too take classes to perfect their technique, especially useful when having to impress the boss or hosting dinner parties. I could go on, but by now there was no question in my mind that all amateur performers should take their hobby seriously and do some classes or training to improve their skills – after all, the paying public deserve to see the best available talent onstage, whether in the ensemble or playing leading roles. Before you shudder at the thought of taking out a student loan for a three-year course, fear not, it needn’t be that expensive. If you’re a member of a larger society, there may already be classes you can join. If not, ask at the library or look online to see if there are any classes or courses in the performing arts available locally (dance or stage schools might be a good place to look for these, as they


year in their town’s 400-seat theatre, there was an established hierarchy within the group and competition was fierce at auditions for their productions. She also mentioned that several of the people I had seen onstage the night before were travelling about thirty miles that day, to audition for a production which would be staged by a much larger operatic society in a major touring theatre, seating over 1,500 people. One of her friends – who had played the male lead opposite her, rather well, I might add – was very keen to make the step up, and, as we talked, she received a text from him saying there were over eighty people there just to audition for the part he wanted. Surely, I thought, he would have to do more than just “say the words and sing the notes” in order to make any impression with the panel. And especially so if members of the creative team were themselves professionals, as they would doubtless be more demanding and expect the very best. As we were finishing our lunch, we were spotted by another member of the cast, a girl in her late teens, who had just finished her A-levels and was now looking to audition for musical theatre courses at the major London colleges. We chatted for a while about which schools might be best for her, their audition processes and the pros and cons of training. She was obviously serious about performing as a career and really picked my brains, asking lots of questions about the schools she was considering and my



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Sardines Magazine  

Issue no.26

Sardines Magazine  

Issue no.26