To help us grow for our students, we recently conducted a short survey of 16-21 year olds who were looking at drama schools. We asked them to list these benefits in order of importance. What matters most to you when deciding on the right course and place?
- Industry-based teachers: rather than “career-teachers”, having current professional directors, MDs, voice coaches, choreographers, producers and agents supporting the permanent faculty members.
- Venue facilities: professional standard dance studios, music rooms, changing areas, refreshments and WiFi.
- Qualification obtained: a diploma or degree?
- Industry mentors: having a dedicated West End performer for each student throughout the entire course. This is someone to learn from, seek advice from and provides the opportunity to develop a friendship with someone who has been through the demands of graduating and entering this industry.
- Course length: the standard three year course or an accelerated 2 year programme to get you ready for the industry sooner? Or perhaps a 1 year intensive, offering a more basic introduction to the industry?
- Industry exposure: As many opportunities as possible throughout the course to perform, collaborate and present the work you’ve done rather than waiting until the final showcases.
- Living in London: or would the reduced living costs of being outside of London be important to you? Perhaps you want to be nearer home?
- One to one singing classes each week.
- Graduation showcase in a London theatre: do you consider this to be a high priority when selecting a drama school?
- Master classes with big names: do workshops with people like Kerry Ellis, Julie Atherton and Elaine Paige score highly on your “wish list”?
We had a REMARKABLE response to our survey and the results helped us to shape our own priorities in developing Midlands Academy of Musical Theatre. It seems as if there is currently a shift in what people want from their training which is very exciting for us as a constantly evolving school.
On average, the top 4 priorities came out as:
- Industry-based teachers
- Venue facilities
- One-to-one singing lessons
- Industry mentors
We were very pleased with the results, as our ethos is about offering a course that is completely grounded within the industry. For us, having regular industry-based professionals teaching on the course and industry-mentors to support and nurture our students is key to the vision of being the very best drama school.
We have also secured the move to a purpose built venue which will offer 2 light and airy studios, including specialist dance flooring, full length mirrors and high quality sound equipment for classes and rehearsals. On site, we also have purpose built changing areas as well as a lecture theatre, physiotherapist suite, meeting/practice rooms, a delicious cafeteria and much more. Our central location is just 10 minutes from all the Birmingham train stations, meaning that we can be in London’s West End in 90 minutes.
Every student receives a 1-2-1 singing lesson during skills weeks.
What is even better about MAMT is that we have built every single benefit above into our course. For example:
- All students receive an Associate Diploma in Musical Theatre, awarded by Trinity College London, on successful completion of the course. Although this industry is about talent (and jobs are awarded based on auditions, not qualifications), we completely understand a student’s desire to have a nationally recognised qualification to add to their ever-growing CV. University based degrees just don’t offer enough industry-exposure and we find that those who have been through a university course still need to go on and train at a drama school afterwards. We can help you get the skills you need to work professionally faster.
- Course length: most responses to our survey felt that 3 years was too long and that an accelerated two year programme (that is both intensive and practical) would be more beneficial. At MAMT we are strongly opposed to 1 year courses; there is simply not enough time to sufficiently develop performers to be industry-ready without rushing the training. If you consider the last term being spent preparing for showcases, that is potentially only two terms of training. Therefore, our course is an intensive and highly detailed 2 year programme.
- Students have public performances from day one. We don’t want to hide our students away until an agent showcase at the very end; we want to embrace the opportunities available to us and give our students as many professional performing opportunities as possible. Every term will end with a public performance, to which industry professionals (include mentors, agents and casting directors) will be invited. This offers many invaluable feedback opportunities throughout the course and a chance for family and friends to see the students progress and grow.
- We are Birmingham based but West End ready. Living in Birmingham, one of the greenest cities in the world, with over 8,000 acres of parks and open space, will save you (on average) 64% of the living costs you would incur by living in London. On top of the reduced living costs (which could save you over £5,000 a year), you will also save money on tuition by being on an accelerated two year course. How much would you save by not doing three years somewhere else? Well over £10,000 in most cases. So in total, you could save yourself over £20,000 by attending MAMT instead of a London-based school. Our teachers are of course still very active in the West End (you just have to look at our faculty page to see that), but the commute from Birmingham is so quick and easy that we can provide the very same training as being based in London. In short, we bring the West End to you, saving you time and money.
- Our graduation showcases are always in London’s West End. You will still graduate from the course with a London showcase, providing you with the same opportunity to seek agent representation.
- Our masterclasses are run by the absolute best. Recently we have had Kerry Ellis, Oliver Tompsett and Julie Atherton teaching for us through Musical Theatre Voices.
By training at Midlands Academy of Musical Theatre, you will be at the very heart of this industry, making connections with people at the top of the industry; the same people who may well be offering you jobs later on in your career.
To find out more about our intensive, industry-based course, please have a look at our website where you can apply for our up-coming audition days.
Course Director, MAMT