Shrewsbury College students get a taste of the West End

Students from Shrewsbury College got a taste of the West End earlier this month, with a trip to London to see two critically-acclaimed shows and to take part in professional dance workshops.

A group of 20 Performing Arts students spent three days in London where they saw and met cast members of War Horse as well as The Book of Mormon - the first Broadway Musical by Matt Stone and Trey Parker the Creators of South Park, for which people have been waiting months for tickets.

The trip was partly financed by Shawbury and Mid Shropshire Rotary club, who work closely with the College on various community projects and by over £300 raised by the students at this year’s Spooky Walks at Attingham Park.

Andy Pierce, Performing Arts Teacher at Shrewsbury College, said:  “The students worked extremely hard to raise funds for the trip and we are very grateful for the match funding we received from the Rotary club.”

“This was a really worthwhile educational experience. Seeing highly acclaimed shows and meeting cast members gives our students a unique and exciting opportunity to experience the realities of theatre work first hand.” As our students are aiming to work in the performance industry, trips like this are essential to their education.”

The chance to meet professional cast members from world-renowned West End shows was described by the students as a ‘real life experience.’

Daisy Bain, 17, from Shrewsbury, currently studying Performing Arts Extended Diploma, spoke of meeting cast members. She said:  “The fact they were real people that we could meet and talk to them is incredible. Having that opportunity was eye opening for me. I really enjoyed both of the West End shows and the contrast between the two stories.”

In a vote of thanks to Andy and the students, Rotarian Alan Paterson said it was a “delight” to hear first-hand how the Rotary money had been spent.

It was not just the group of students that went to London that took part in the ‘west end week at the College.

The Performing Arts students that remained at the College took part in a specialised workshop session with professional dancer Gavin Tsang, who is currently a cast member of West End musical, Miss Saigon.  Students learned the choreography for two of the shows well known musical numbers and also took the opportunity to question Gavin about the realities of life as a west end performer.

Gavin, from Shrewsbury, is currently performing in the West End stage swing production of, Miss Saigon and danced on ITV’s Royal Variety show this week.

“Gavin is a good friend of the College and when he is available he often comes to lead workshops with our performing arts students,” explained Michael Jenkins, Performing Arts tutor.

“It’s a great experience for the students to work with a current west end performer.”

For more information about Performing Arts courses at Shrewsbury College please call 01743 342411 

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