During the academic year there exist opportunities for performance as well as choreography and directing. In the Autumn term the students rehearse the Cabaret. This show is completely under the control of the student body. There will be a management panel that consists of two representatives of each year group and a chair person from the third year group. All students are invited to contribute and the panel will put together the final programme choices. This show is performed in-house with an invited audience.
Towards the end of the Spring term assessments take place, whereby students are required to perform a short solo work to a panel of invited professionals, who will assess their performance qualities. Very often students will choreograph or direct this work themselves, but this is by no means compulsory. They are also allowed to show a second work to the panel. This work does not have to be a solo piece and often students take this opportunity to choreograph or direct a group piece. This show is performed in-house with an invited audience. All year students will perform their main solo piece of assessment work at these shows.
All final year Musical Theatre students will perform in the Musical Theatre Showcase. These performances are primarily to display the skills of the students as versatile performers and to promote the college to the wider world. It will normally be directed by a professional guest director. The students are encouraged to invite agents and managers to these shows.
Towards the very end of the academic year the school will perform the Summer Show, which acts as a showcase for the entire school. These performances are produced by the directors and they will invite professional choreographers and directors to create original works for the show. All final year students will perform in this production. In particular, the Dance course students will have their main showcasing opportunity. Acceptance onto the cast for a work is by audition only. This show will be held in a professional theatre, is staged in its entirety by professionals and is open to the general public.
Interview with MPA Graduate Jasmine Leung
If you had one word or sentence to describe why you should choose to go to MPA, what would it be?
J: I chose to go to MPA as in the audition I felt welcomed by both the staff and the students. They truly knew how to put you at ease even in what can be a stressful situation.
What was the main aspect that drew you to train at MPA?
J: The Jazz technique they teach you, Matt Mattox. It’s so unique and requires huge amounts of core stability and strength which enables you to improve and transfer into other styles of dance.
What has been your most stand-out memory since leaving MPA, and what do you see happening in your future?
J: My most fond memory since leaving MPA has to be getting my first West end show, Carousel. It took my some time, however that phone call changed my life! I see myself continuing with Musical theatre for the foreseeable future, however after I have conquered my goals in the MT world I would like to move into film and TV work as I enjoy it immensely.
If you could give 5 of your best tips about training at MPA and being part of the industry, what would they be?
J: My top 5 tips for training at MPA and any other institute would be:
1. Work for yourself, don’t rely on others pushing you (even though they will)
2. Book in private lessons with your singing teachers, the group lessons are great however to specify what your voice needs is vital.
3. Work on your weakest points to enable you to come out well rounded.
4. Be kind to yourself and others.
5. Be yourself, it’s difficult in an industry where we are paid to be someone else, don’t lose sight of yourself.