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NPTC’s Performing Arts Department Promotes Audition Success

Neath Port Talbot College prides itself on giving the students ‘more than just education’ and this year the performing arts department is proud to present the Oracle Performing Arts Company, consisting of a group of talented students, all studying on the Gap Year: Performance & Training Course, which specialises in movement, acting and singing techniques. 


The company members were all offered a place on the course following a gruelling audition process led by the course’s coordinator Craig Coombs, who stated that;


“This course is very special as it has been significantly designed to improve the students’ chances of audition success at some of the countries most prestigious higher education conservatoires for the performing arts. Throughout the selection process I was looking for young people who not only demonstrated a flare for the theatrical arts, but those who had the potential to learn most effectively within our already vibrant department, and I am confident that this year, I have found a group of students that will progress onto excellent higher institutions.”


Fundamentally, the students forming Oracle Performing Arts Company follow a weekly course programme that offers specialist training in the disciplines of dance, drama, music and musical theatre.  All the students on the course have already achieved a Level 3 qualification in relevant subjects and have shown dedication and commitment to their futures in the performing arts industry.  In fact, on Friday 19th April 2013, the students will officially undertake their first performance together as Oracle Performing Arts Company at Neath’s Gwyn Hall, where they will be showcasing their talents to the general public and invited special guests (made up of local dance, theatre and musical practitioners) in a performance gala.  One of the future performers, David Lewis remarked that;


“I am so excited to perform as part of Oracle next year.  It will be the highlight of the year and will give us all a chance to present our performance skills on a professional stage.” 


Already the academic year could not have begun more positively as the students have been involved in a series of events across the department.  These include; Standing Ovation, which was a fundraising performance at the Nidum Arts Centre; LIFT Dance Company’s audition workshop; Peter Pan Pantomime auditions; Chess auditions; the Shakespeare Festival and a day trip to Revue Studios in Swansea.  All of this is in addition to the students’ rigorous weekly training schedule; it is hard to believe they have only completed six weeks of the course so far!


One of the highlights of the first half term was an audition day organised by CPA Studios, one of London’s most exciting performing arts institutions.  Specialist tutors from CPA led the students from Neath Port Talbot College through a series of tasks, alongside students from Coleg Sir Gar and Gower College, who hosted the event.  The dance class consisted of ballet and jazz and was taken by CPA’s Head of Dance, Aaron Francis who has featured in many West End shows including ‘Chicago’, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ and Matthew Bourne’s ‘Swan Lake’.  Following this a singing masterclass was lead by CPA’s Head of Musical Theatre, David Barber.  David has worked extensively in professional musical theatre and closely with Lionel Bart and the Sherman Brothers over the years.  The students received extremely helpful feedback and useful practical advice throughout the afternoon, which has furthermore helped to shape their approach to the audition process.  Nia Collier and Craig Coombs (both NPTC dance lecturers) attended the event and were able to observe the whole audition process, Craig Coombs revealed that;


“It was not only the Gap Year students who learnt something that day.  We were also able to pick up hints and tips on the audition process for musical theatre schools, and that, combined with our existing professional knowledge and experience of auditioning will be passed onto all the students studying in NPTC’s Performing Arts Department.”


As if one specialist audition feedback day wasn’t enough the Gap Year students then had a masterclass with musical theatre performer Gareth Mitchell, who trained professionally at the Arts Education School for Musical Theatre in London and has been working on the professional stage for the past 3 years.  Gareth led two workshops ‘Acting for Auditions’ and ‘Singing for Auditions’, giving specialist insight into the training techniques of one of London’s most prestigious vocational training schools.  The students were able to individually analyse their monologues and solo songs in preparation for their up and coming auditions next term.  Adam Baker said;


“I have studied drama for a number of years, but listening to someone who is living the life of a jobbing actor was hugely beneficial for all of us.  I was able to access an emotional understanding of my audition pieces in ways I have never thought of before.  I will be a better actor after doing this workshop.”


So far, the Gap Year students have shown that they definitely have the potential to progress into the performing arts industry.  These young people are leading the way in the performing arts department and will hopefully continue to do so throughout their time at NPTC.  In just over a week’s time they will be put to the test once again, as they will be taking part in the college’s ‘in house’ audition day, choosing to experience either drama, dance or musical theatre focused workshops, lead by award winning choreographer Tanya Raman, professional musical theatre performer Ross Furlong and the NPTC lecturers. 


I think it is safe to say that these students are in very safe hands under the expert tuition of the lecturers at NPTC.  Let’s wish them all the best of luck in their auditions this year and hope that one day we will be buying tickets to see them on the professional stage.