En­ter stage right

LAURA HODGES of City Col­lege Nor­wich ex­plains the qual­i­ties that a good per­former needs and gives her ad­vice on how to nur­ture a young per­son’s tal­ents

EDP Norfolk - - Education -

“The theatre in­dus­try is tough be­cause every­body is very tal­ented and it can some­times be dif­fi­cult to make your­self stand out, so get­ting your first big break is as much about luck as it is about your abil­i­ties”

WIN­TER is a time for vis­it­ing the theatre, and with the magic and ex­cite­ment that each show or panto brings, there will be many young peo­ple in the au­di­ence hop­ing that, one day, they will be able to per­form on stage.

Laura Hodges, pro­fes­sional the­atri­cal and mu­si­cal direc­tor, founder of the Nor­wich Young Peo­ple’s Theatre and course leader for City Col­lege Nor­wich’s Mu­si­cal Theatre cour­ses, has helped many as­pir­ing young stars to achieve their dreams in the per­form­ing arts. With more than 15 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence, Laura knows what it takes to be a good per­former and how to be­come suc­cess­ful in the in­dus­try.

“A good per­former needs to be fit, healthy and will­ing to work hard, but most im­por­tantly they need to be tal­ented. Most the­atri­cal direc­tors, es­pe­cially those who are in­volved in mu­si­cal theatre, are look­ing for peo­ple who are what is known as ‘a triple threat’ per­former, which means that they are gifted in singing, danc­ing and act­ing. How­ever many are now also look­ing for a fourth threat, which can ei­ther be the abil­ity to read mu­sic and play an in­stru­ment or be­ing able to do gym­nas­tics.

“The theatre in­dus­try is tough be­cause every­body is very tal­ented and it can some­times be dif­fi­cult to make your­self stand out, so get­ting your first big break is as much about luck as it is about your abil­i­ties. How­ever, once you get your first big break, the main thing that will get you your sec­ond job is if you are a good per­son to work with, which is what is known in the in­dus­try as be­ing a ‘good com­pany mem­ber’. Be­cause of this, we al­ways en­sure that we teach our stu­dents the im­por­tance of be­ing kind, on time, will­ing to help, and of sup­port­ing col­leagues, along­side work­ing with them to de­velop their ex­ist­ing tal­ents.

“For those who are look­ing to nur­ture their child’s gifts at a young age, my ad­vice would be to only take them to dance, act­ing and singing classes if they’re en­joy­ing it. From my ex­pe­ri­ence, I have found that young peo­ple who are be­ing taken to classes that they don’t like gen­er­ally won’t con­tinue with them in later life. If classes are un­avail­able, watch the shows they want to put on at home and they will learn through those. If they choose to pur­sue their pas­sions when they’re older, study­ing a per­form­ing arts course at col­lege is an ideal op­por­tu­nity for them to hone their skills in their cho­sen spe­cial­ism and gain valu­able per­for­mance ex­pe­ri­ence . This will al­low them to study a wide va­ri­ety of cour­ses at drama school or univer­sity and bring them one step closer to achiev­ing their dreams.”

Top: The per­form­ing arts is hard to break into but tal­ent and a dose of good luck can bring suc­cess Above: Laura Hodges of City Col­lege Nor­wich shares her ad­vice Left: Pre­par­ing a pro­duc­tion at City Col­lege Nor­wich

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