Course Consultant: Stephen Brooker
Artistic Director, Seedtime: Matthew Shaw
This professional option embraces all of the theatrical disciplines that contribute to the production of music theatre. It is designed specifically for students aiming at a professional career in this aspect of theatre, which demands a high level of practical expertise in a wide variety of skills.
The curriculum is comprised of intensive courses in acting, improvisation, singing, voice, speech, stage fighting and music theatre repertoire. These are supplemented by the dance techniques that are required by music theatre students, such as ballet, jazz and tap. Students have contact with potential employers through studio-based workshops and masterclasses.
Specialist singing courses build on the students’ knowledge of the musical repertoire for popular theatre, including composers such as Ivor Novello, Noel Coward, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Jerry Herman, Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The classwork ensures that the students have their own natural skills developed and that they have the technical foundations to sustain a professional career. Regular private coaching means that students are fully prepared for public performances and auditions.
Drama studies naturalise acting technique, so that it becomes undetectable in performance. The course aims to promote the technical skills, intellectual grasp and the physical and artistic maturity that are required to work successfully in the professional theatre. Voice and speech coaching also play an important part in the final year, reinforcing the work covered in the first two years. This ensures that each student has a flexible, well-modulated voice and is able, therefore, to tackle a wide variety of roles and possesses the strength and skill to project in large auditoria.
These different disciplines are united in the rehearsal and performance of the music theatre repertoire, which commences in the 1920s and proceeds via Rodgers and Hammerstein to the most recent rock musicals. This work promotes an awareness of both the content and style of these different forms of music theatre.
Classical ballet continues to provide a basis for sound dance technique, emphasising the secure performance of the basic vocabulary. Isolation jazz technique adds interest, style and flair to the performance and staging of songs and dances from music theatre, with its emphasis on co-ordination, fluency and presentational skills. Dance and tap for music theatre are essential skills for students seeking employment in the commercial world.
"...a thorough preparation of the student"
The music theatre company was formed in 1996, in order to provide work experience for music theatre students. The company presents established repertoire and the students are fully involved in the production process, from first rehearsal to final performance. Each year, a full-length musical is staged at professional venues in the UK, providing the students with a working knowledge of the demands and disciplines of the professional theatre. They have the opportunity to work with professional directors, choreographers and musical directors and, therefore, the chance to appreciate the unique contribution that each one makes to the final production.
Links with the professional theatre have provided an impressive list of successful students, who are now working in all branches of theatre. Former students have been seen in Hairspray, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Lion King, Saturday Night Fever, Parade, My Fair Lady, Grease, Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Rent, High Society, Half a Sixpence, La Cage aux Folles, The King and I, Les Misérables, Oliver!, Carmen Jones, Miss Saigon, Martin Guerre and Five Guys Named Moe, to name but a few. The range of leading acting roles achieved spans such prestigious productions as David Hare’s Skylight, David Mamet’s two-hander Oleanna, Alan Ayckbourn’s The Revengers’ Comedies, The Mousetrap and Dennis Potter’s Christobel, numerous film and television productions including Austin Powers: Man of Mystery, Harry Potter, The Three Musketeers, Tamara Drewe, Clash of the Titans, 7 Seconds, Saving Private Ryan, Eastenders, Coronation Street and The Bill, as well as Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal National Theatre productions.