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
“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