Curtain up on Musical Theatre course at University Centre Shrewsbury
A new degree course in Shropshire is attracting students from across the world and could well be the launchpad for West End and Broadway stars of the future.
University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS) has launched a BA (Hons) Musical Theatre course this year, which has also seen a new member of staff from New York joining to teach the programme.
Dr Sarah Taylor Ellis, co-programme leader and senior lecturer in Musical Theatre at UCS, said the undergraduate course was designed to provide specialist training to develop the practical and cognitive skills needed for a career in the performing arts.
“These are exciting times for the University Centre, and our new Musical Theatre course has started brilliantly. It has a real cosmopolitan feel with students signing up from all over the world and bringing their diverse perspectives to the programme,” she said.
“We are delighted with the interest shown, and the course has already proved to be one of the most popular at UCS.
“We want to inspire our next generation of artists by giving them the best possible grounding and all-round education: a practical toolkit in singing, acting, and dance underpinned by deep theoretical and historical knowledge.
“This comprehensive education will put them in an ideal situation for future work in this highly competitive industry.
“We are also in the unique position of our campus being next door to the wonderful Theatre Severn, where much of our course is delivered.
"Dance and production classes are held in the spacious dance studio, and performances are presented in the Walker Theatre.
“By the end of this three-year course, graduates will be well-equipped to work across the creative industries.
“Students are developing skills not only as performers, but as directors, writers, choreographers, technicians, producers and more.
Dr Ellis said the co-programme leader, Nicole Wellings, had established a vital connection to Layton Williams’ Pros from the Shows, which has brought West End talent to Shrewsbury for three dance workshops over the past year.
She added: “Later this month, Alex Young, most recently seen in Follies at the National Theatre and Me and My Girl at Chichester Festival Theatre, will deliver a solo skills master class for our students.
“Alex was featured as Harriet Smith in a reading of my musical adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma last spring in London, and we are overjoyed she will bring her acting-through-song expertise to our programme.
“The more students see and experience, the more they will develop a distinctive aesthetic.
“Our course strives to develop thoughtful, reflective, and deeply collaborative practitioners for a life in the arts.”