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West Nottinghamshire College

Students Take Their Cues With Entertainment Industry Specialists

The spotlight has been shining on a variety of professionals from the arts at West Nottinghamshire College’s Create Theatre, as trainee performers explored their future careers.
 |  Made  |  Mansfield
Paula with her dance partner Michael Dobson at Blackpools Winter Gardens.
Matthew McGurk wowed students with his close-up magic.
Paula Hyde took time to teach students a few ballroom moves.

The performing arts curriculum put together an exciting agenda for students during their industry week activities.

First onto the stage was Chris Neil, learning and aspiration manager at Mansfield Palace Theatre. Chris led students through a specialist workshop around getting involved in work placement opportunities with the Leeming Street-based theatre.

Learners were able to show off their acting skills with their monologue auditions through the Write Track project, which Chris gave valuable feedback on, as students begin to think about auditioning for university or drama schools across the country. The Write Track shows will be open to the public and advertised on Create Theatre’s website.

The mystique of close-up magic came courtesy of award-winning performer Matthew McGurk who wowed students with his talents and his career journey so far. 

Matthew performs magic at both corporate and social events as well as running a successful talent booking and events management company with his partner. Students were able to ask him questions about running multiple businesses in the entertainments sector.

He gave students demonstrations of some of his tricks while describing his path to success and the work he puts into the most popular online magic course in the world.

The college’s creative and digital learner development coach Paula Hyde gave students an insight into her competitive hobby as she provided a practical ballroom dancing lesson.

Paula, who is a dancing teacher as well as ballroom competitor, gave learners a lesson in a range of ballroom steps including Latin and waltz.

Paula recently made the final of Champions of Tomorrow in Blackpool with her dance partner Michael Dobson and were placed sixth out of 36 in the pre-champ competitions held at the Winter Gardens.

Further practical workshops came courtesy of Fourth Monkey drama school who joined students in the Create Theatre space to offer a practical workshop which enabled them to perform their own monologues.

The company, which has worked in partnership with Falmouth University since 2010, prides itself on training versatile actors which sees graduates moving to successful careers on stage and screen. They spoke to students about the requirements for auditioning with the school and what life is like with the organisation.

Melissa Robson, who studies on the Advanced Performing Arts Practice in Acting and Performance course, said: “Industry week was amazing and filled with so many opportunities to learn about the performing arts industry. It was so nice to meet people who were in the position we are in in college right now and it’s a reminder of the opportunities that wait for us!

“I loved getting the chance to do a workshop with Fourth Monkey drama school. It was such a fantastic opportunity to experience a day in the life as a drama school student and see what I could experience if I decided to go. I'm so grateful to Simon and the college for allowing us industry week it has been genuinely amazing!”

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’s learning and participation co-ordinator Bethan Barke joined the curriculum to advise on the options to study performance arts at Higher Education level and discussed the variety of careers available in the creative industries.

Bethan led a monologue preparation session to aid the performing arts students in their audition processes for both HE and the professional industry.

Performing arts’ programme area leader Simon Watt said: "The industry week is something that we all look forward to and this year's line-up did not disappoint. 

“Notable highlights had to be students' reactions to Matt McGurk's close-up magic, the fantastic energy and fun in Paula's ballroom and Latin dance class and a full day of intensive workshops with Fourth Monkey.

“In addition, the week gives us many opportunities to maintain existing relationships and forge new links with employers and higher education providers. The new link with Fourth Monkey has already seen many of our second-year students apply with one-to-one online auditions already scheduled for early February. While the Write Track project has now been going for over a decade with our current crop of students now setting the wheels in motion for the latest round of performance in April."