Central’s Musical Theatre Students Perform Across the Country

The Man of Mode (Image by Mark Baker / Getty Images)

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

In November, Central’s Acting (Musical Theatre) students appeared in performances across the Capital, as well as in Derbyshire where they toured their production of ‘The Man of Mode’ at Derby Live.

On 22 November, second year Musical Theatre students took part in the star-studded Hampstead Christmas Festival, organised by the Hampstead NW3 Business Association.  The students sang holiday carols alongside appearances by Jonathon Ross, Barbara Windsor and opera singer Angel Blue.

Then, on 30 November, Central’s third year Musical Theatre students performed at St Paul’s Covent Garden (the Actor’s Church)  in the ‘A West End Christmas’ concert and in support of the Make a Difference Trust.  The students performed alongside the casts of Mama Mia, The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Wicked, The Commitments, Les Miserables and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

The appearance at ‘A West End Christmas’ marked their return from a three day tour to Derbyshire, and a tour of their production of ‘The Man of Mode’ at Derby Live.  The performance of 'The Man of Mode' at the Guildhall Theatre was Central’s third annual residency at Derby Live.  Alongside the productions, a series of targeted workshops with area students and Q&A sessions about the process of applying for drama schools were facilitated.

Central’s relationship with schools and students in the Derby  area has grown exponentially year on year, with the University’s goal to establish a fully integrated and on-going collaboration with local Derbyshire schools.  Whilst reinforcing the value of arts and arts education, the project also helps to demonstrate the various career possibilities available within the creative sector.   Verna Rhodes, Head of Central Outreach, said:

“The Derby Live project has been made possible through Central’s access funding.  Central has a long history in widening participation and works in collaboration with academic and research staff in partnership with schools, colleges and community groups”.

This year’s tour was a particularly meaningful one, as the Company Manager and two of the young cast members hailed from Derby.  Their dedication and passion for their hometown has helped to encourage the School’s continued involvement in the project and to build its networks within the local community.  Company Manager Joe O’Neill, also an alumnus of Central, said of the project:

“The importance of communities, education and local governance working together to sustain regional theatre and the arts has never been more important than in today’s climate. This project aims to enrich lives and offer new experiences to communities, as well as Central students, and has been positively reflected in recent years by the continued progression and growth of regional theatre and the arts in the area. As an alumnus and having grown up in Derby, this project unites two influential parts of my life and I am proud that Central is reaching out to local communities, especially those in my home town.”

Wendy Gadian, Central’s Course Leader for Acting (Musical Theatre) has overseen the project since its inception:

“This project is a wonderful opportunity for students, who are about to embark on a professional career, to perform in a professional theatre under touring conditions.  It is also a unique chance for a prestigious London drama school which draws on talent from all parts of the UK, to reach out and connect with areas outside London.  This type of project offers a platform for young actors to take their work back to the communities from which they grew, by which means to inspire and encourage the next generation of young performers.”

The Derby Live project has been made possible through Central’s access funding.  Central has a long history in widening participation and works in collaboration with academic and research staff in partnership with schools, colleges and community groups.

Verna Rhodes, Head of Central Outreach