The Course is designed to give a complete practical training for Musical Theatre performance. In order to support their professional career students have excellent opportunities to develop knowledge and understanding of the genre and its context. Practical work is underpinned by theory at every opportunity with the majority of teaching and learning being workshop and studio-based.
Practical technique classes in dance (to include classical ballet, contemporary dance, classical jazz, commercial dance, musical theatre genres), singing and acting are taught in regular daily sessions throughout the week, every day for between 4-6 hours. This commitment to physical training is an essential feature of the course to ensure students can sustain the standards of practical work required at the professional level of performance (and remain healthy and avoid injury). These classes are accompanied by additional sessions in body and voice maintenance, personal physical support for rehabilitation and self-study sessions enabling students to focus on key areas of individual development.
Meetings with Head of Department and Heads of Year are also scheduled at least twice per semester in order to direct and support any additional requirements for each student and enable development of individual professional practice as students begin to understand the wider professional sector within Musical Theatre and performance.
Practical performance studies taught throughout the course becomes increasingly sophisticated and challenging through study of repertoire from major shows both past and current of which excerpts and professional productions are staged and performed publicly. Students are required to take part in a variety of workshop and cast rehearsal activity sessions in preparation for each performance and this involves both directed and self-directed study in small groups, full cast and company classes and independent rehearsal.
Major directors, choreographers and producers from the professional world are involved in staging performance works at MPA and thus students are constantly linked to the profession and its chief protagonists. This is supported by a contextual understanding so that students not only know the ‘what’ of their performance work but also understand the ‘why’. Creativity is particularly promoted though student-led performances where students are entirely responsible for realising their own pieces both for in house and public performances.
Whole year seminars and lectures are offered regularly (2-6 hours a week), supporting contextual and professional studies include reflective practice, production techniques, self-management and other preparation for work such as audition techniques, working with theatrical agencies, administrating income tax and Equity membership. An understanding of arts practice in general with exploration of philosophical views from performers and creators is also included to enhance the depth of expression and interpretation in performance. Self-study is also required in order to complete assessment portfolios of work for this unit. At Level 6, students are expected to manage their own project work through considerable commitment to independent study as appropriate to the professional creative nature of their chosen work.
In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled as at least a minimum, of one per month.