We were extremely lucky to be able to catch Emma Rose Hamilton & Georgie Buckland in between their rehearsals for the College’s end of year production. With the opening of UrineTown – The Musical less than 3 weeks away, it’s an extremely busy time of year for the two of them!
Emma is from Barrow and attended St Bernard’s School whilst Georgie is from Kendal and went to Kirkbie Kendal. They both started the Level 3 Performing Arts course (which is equivalent to 3 A-Levels!) in September 2015.
Adele: Why did you choose this course?
Emma: We had a Careers Fair at school where I found out about College. I was really undecided. I knew I didn’t want to go to 6th form as I’d heard arts courses were very academic, and I wanted to learn the professional skills I would need in the future. I wanted to develop my acting & singing more and be hands-on. I came for an open evening and loved it.
Georgie: I went to see Sunshine on Leith, the end of year show. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was! I had been put off by College, as school had made it out as a bad thing to do. There are myths about BTECs but this course is UAL so people don’t understand what the qualifications are. I came to the open evening, went to see another show the Addams Family which was amazing, and I knew it was for me.
Adele: Is College like you had expected. If not, why?
Emma: I didn’t know what to expect or what it was about. It’s just as good academically as A-Levels but much better as it’s a professional course. It’s constant practical work and techniques (about 90% of what we do). We do the blog (the written work) ourselves, as we’re old enough to know what we should be doing. You get direction and support from the tutors but up to you how much you put in – it’s the real world and prepares you to be independent, which is good if you want to go onto university.
Georgie: I thought that I wouldn’t get on with people on the course but I get on with so many people! People from all over come here, you make friends from everywhere, and you get so many connections for the future. It’s genuinely a big family and a really friendly environment. We know people who left 5 years ago as they come back to help out and give us advice.
Adele: What do you most enjoy about College life?
Both: Just being here, it’s so fun. We used to hate getting up for school, but here everyone moans when it’s the weekends and half terms, we would rather be here! Time goes so quickly.
Adele: What opportunities have you had as a student at the College?
Both: So many! In the 1st year we had a lot of workshops with professional people and companies. Lots of productions come to College to run their auditions, so there’s opportunities to get work outside of College too.
Adele: Through the auditions held at College, I got paid work with a theatre touring company over summer, Rachel Ashton’s company Tall Towers, and performed at the Theatre by the Lake, in Preston, Lancaster, community halls, all over!
Georgie: As I live in Kendal, before College I had no idea of things happening outside of Kendal. As students come from all over, I now know about The Forum in Barrow and I’ve seen a number of shows there.
Emma: We had The Box, a performance space that theatre & performance companies book out, so you there’s always something going on – for example The Voice held their auditions here last year and this year. The biggest opportunity is the London show, where we have a workshop with the Musical Director of a big West End Show and get to meet the cast and ask them questions. We’ve seen Dream Girls, Kinky Boots, Matilda, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. We’ve had lots of professional workshops e.g. a clowning workshop, scare workshop, Shakespeare workshop and loads more! We once had a prosthetic workshop from a make-up lady who works in the West End. As well as performing in our College theatres and the Brewery Arts Centre, we also go on tour and perform a children’s show in local primary schools. We are constantly rehearsing for a variety of performances, for example we were rehearsing for Rooster at the same time as Midsummers.
Adele: What is the teaching style like on your course?
Both: Amazing, really good and always different. We are constantly using professional techniques you would use in drama school so we learn so much. You wouldn’t be put off going to a drama school audition. You can tell the tutors care so much about everyone, you feel looked after. They always go the extra mile. Both our tutors have done professional work so they know what it’s like.
Adele: Can you describe a typical day at College?
Both: We usually start at 9.15am and finish at 4pm. It depends on the day. Some mornings we’ll have a singing lesson for 2-3 hours and then do acting in the afternoon for 3-4 hours. It varies between singing, acting and dancing practice. We spend a good 20 minutes warming up, which is so important, that you probably wouldn’t get the time for at 6th form. The warm up enables us to do our best and not strain ourselves. At the moment we are in 5 days rehearsing for our final show, Urinetown at the Brewery Arts Centre. We’re refining it now and concentrating on what we are going to be doing.
Adele: How would you describe your College experience so far?
Emma: I love it! It’s a working atmosphere, everyone wants to be here, everyone works hard to make an amazing show.
Georgie: At 6th form there’s always the chance that students pick Drama as they think it’s easy. You have to do 3-4 A-Levels, so they are thinking of other things too. Here you have to audition and can put all your energy into it.
Adele: What are you hoping to do after College?
Georgie: I’m going to study BA (Hons) Musical Theatre at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire. It’s a drama school and all practical professional training, we only have 1 essay a year! In the 1st year you get trained in all 3 aspects (dance, acting & signing) and in the 3rd year you have 4 big shows. It’s 5 days a week, sometimes Saturdays, and 8am-7pm.
Emma: I’m going to Leeds Beckett to do BA (Hons) Dance. Whilst I’m there I’ll apply for drama schools – most people get more training first before drama school, as they tend to take older people who already have professional experience.
Adele: If you could give one piece of advice to people considering College, what would it be?
Georgie: If you think you want to do Performing Arts, the best thing to do is come here. It’s much harder and a bigger jump to go from 6th form Drama to university & drama schools.
Emma: When leaving school, you’re told it’s not a stable career, but you can make it if you have the desire. You need to love it.
Georgie: From this course you can go onto anything – someone on our course is going onto BA (Hons) Psychology at York, a top university.
Emma: This course gives you people skills, production skills, business skills, marketing skills, office skills & learning how to do the books, how to sell, how to market… so many transferable skills you can use for a variety of different careers.
If Emma & Georgie have prompted an interest in Performing Arts @ Kendal College, we offer a fantastic range of courses. Start your future on our website.
The interview was conducted by Adele Mundy, the College’s Student Services Manager.