It’s a no(t yet) from me

We’ve just had our second weekend of full on auditions for the first intake at Midlands Academy of Musical Theatre – and what a delightful weekend it was too (except perhaps that a good number of staff were ill or, at best, under the weather!)

Nonetheless, the occasional strike of tonsillitis isn’t enough to rain off our audition days because they’re too important to students who have been preparing for them, and they’re one of our most enjoyable days as a faculty. There was an interesting debate over lunch about whether sickness should default to a no show at auditions…? It came about because, unlike our first audition day, we had a couple of last minute cancellations due to sickness…last minute as in 9.25 for a 9.30 call time. Now, there are some people who say “if you’re ill, don’t go…no one wants to audition someone who spends the whole time apologising for underperforming due to sickness”. I get that and have friends who will never be seen when they’re not “feeling 100%”. One of our faculty raised the point that for us, as a small school who limits the number of people we meet each day, it would be much more preferable if you aren’t on top form, to come along anyway, take part in what you can and ask us to bear with you if you have a little blip. I’m still mulling over where I stand on this – I mean, if you have a throat infection, don’t sing on it – I don’t think anyone would advise that. If you have a cold or feel a bit sniffly though, you might as well get used to battling on through, just as you’d be expected to in the industry or indeed any other career. Neverminding where you stand on this for a moment, the very minimum that we expect, is some notice of your non-attendance…never mind the rude thing, I’m not going to harp on about basic manners, it’s just frustrating that we could have had another few people on our February auditions if we had more than 15 minutes notice. We like to meet people you see!

Anyway, our first 2 audition dates have been full of incredible potential. We’ve had great people auditioning for us and a panel even more excited about the launch in September …our gender balance is great, we’ve got a range of ages and so far, everyone who has enrolled has a unique look and castability.

We’ve been very truthful with those who we haven’t accepted; saying no is very difficult and it’s worth saying that so far we don’t feel we’ve said ‘NO’ to anyone, it’s more of a ‘not yet’. Not yet because the course we’re running is demanding, intensive and very specialist. Some people are oozing potential but need some more basic technique so that they would keep up (with CiCi and Russell’s dance calls mainly!)

We’ve been thinking, to all the people who we have said ‘not yet’ to (and given, sometimes pages and pages of, feedback and advice) – maybe we can help you. We are often saying to get your technique up, or look at where you’d fit in the industry, or go and find yourself through living more. What we really mean is – we would love to help you progress but the full time course isn’t right for you until you’ve got a bit more experience.

Therefore we might be launching a part-time course to help you over the next 12 months. You’ll know from my previous blog that I’m wary of foundations so let’s just see what we can create and then I’ll come back to you; we’ve got some good plans and I’ve had meetings with a lot of people on or from various foundation courses. I’ve heard the horror stories; we won’t make those mistakes. Now I want to hear what they do really well and how we can be even better.

So, the book is open, let’s write a better version of the ‘evening class’ or the ‘summer workshop’ or the DUN DUN DUN ‘foundation’!

In the meantime, if you need any advice from me or my wonderful faculty members, then as ever, please drop us an email.

James Williams, james@mamt.org.uk

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It’s a no(t yet) from me

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