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 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.