During the academic year there exist opportunities for public performance and for exploring creativity. In the Autumn term the students prepare the Cabaret. This show consists of two parts; one part is mainly devised by the student body and pieces are chosen by a student elected panel of two representatives of each year group. Management then elect a chairperson, from the third-year group, to complete the panel. The professional part of the Cabaret is wholly under the control of an artistic director and aims to showcase the performance ability of all students involved. All third-year Level 6 diploma students will participate in this show, which 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 formally assess their performance abilities and qualities. Very often students will choreograph or direct this work themselves, although this is not compulsory. Students are also able to show a second work to the panel. This work does not have to be a solo work and often students take this opportunity to create a group piece. A student may receive professional feedback on this work. This show is performed in-house with an invited audience. All final year Diploma students will perform their main solo piece of assessment work at these shows.
In the Summer Term MPA offers the Summer Song & Dance show. These performances are primarily to display the skills of the students as versatile performers and to promote the college to the wider world. These performances are normally produced by a professional production company and this company will invite choreographers and directors of standing to create original works or remount previously devised works. It will normally be under artistic directorship of a professional guest director. All students will be offered the opportunity to perform. Acceptance onto the cast for a work is by audition only. Performances will be held in a professional theatre and is staged in its entirety by professionals. The students are encouraged to invite agents and managers to these shows.
Interview with MPA Graduate Kelly Walsh
If you had one word or sentence to describe why you should choose to go to MPA, what would it be?
K: MPA offers the most supportive professional training which allows you to flourish. Complete commitment and dedication from the amazing faculty, which enables you to be well prepared for the industry.
What was the main aspect that drew you to train at MPA?
K: For me although I loved the training on offer at MPA what drew me was their ability and passion to treat you as an individual. Individuality is key at MPA. They allow each cohort access to the most amazing training but at the same time keeping each students individual needs at the fore front! I remember my audition day, I felt appreciated and respected. I didn’t feel like a number. Once I had met the directors, who oozed passion and knowledge. I knew MPA was the college for me!
What has been your most stand-out memory since leaving MPA, and what do you see happening in your future?
K: My stand out memory is probably very different from others. Although I have very fond memories of performing ,for me it has to be the achievements of the students I teach. The very first time I directed a production for young people and they took their very first bow, will always be a moment I will never forgot. Watching their faces fill with pride and accomplishment.I realised I loved working with young people and nurturing their future.
I currently own a theatre school- GAPA, which fills me with pride and excitement everyday. Our students have gone onto train professionally but many come for the love. I am also the Leader of Performing Arts at a large secondary school- President Kennedy school, this role allows students who wouldn’t normally have the access to the Arts the opportunity of high quality training and rich experiences. Watching the students start at the very beginning realise their talent and passion for the craft and then go onto achieve is phenomenal.
If you could give 5 of your best tips about training at MPA and being part of the industry, what would they be?
K: My top 5 tips for training at MPA would be:
1. Work hard- Push yourself and work to your best in all areas! Don’t give up.
2. Take advise. Listen and appreciate the advise given throughout your training. Sometimes it may not seem relevant but believe me it will become relevant at different points through your life.
3. Prepare- If you are not organised you will stumble at some point!
4. Sense of humour- Some days are hard. Remember to smile.
5. Accept change- things don’t always happened as you plan. This isn’t failure just a new avenue.