Various recent bits of training developments and events include a new opportunity to train for two years in New York City at a cost of $US 13,000 per year.
Tom Todoroff, who has studios in ten cities and five countries, will open his new Two-Year Conservatory (in the training school sense, of course, rather than a hothouse for plants) in New York City this September. Actors train for two 32-week periods, beginning mid-September and ending in Mid-May, for an average of four hours per day, five days a week. “By design, this schedule allows for rehearsal outside of class and artistic research, including museum exhibits, Broadway and Off-Broadway shows,” a spokeswoman says.
Auditions are being held now worldwide - audition fee $US 40. Student Visas are available to qualified applicants who apply and audition no later than June 20th, 2012 so their Student Visa materials may be processed by the June 25th due date.
Much closer to home and at the opposite end of the training spectrum, Artis has produced a new resource for primary school performing arts education called ‘First You Make Your Fingers Click.’ It’s a cleverly written chant with a click, a slap, a stamp and a clap, each on a different beat of the bar. It gets children thinking about tempo and should help to improve their sense of rhythm and musicality. You can see it on video:
Great stuff is going on at National Theatre for young people too. NT Connections Festival, the annual festival of new plays for young performers, runs from June 20-25.
Over the past months, ten newly commissioned plays telling stories from across the world have been performed across the UK by 180 youth theatres. Now ten companies have been selected to bring their productions to the NT. This year’s themes range from the plight of teenage soldiers caught in the military machine to a British Punjabi wedding; and from a fresh, new rock-musical take on Alice in Wonderland from the creators of Spring Awakening, to an imagined prequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Playwrights include Meera Syal, Michael Lesslie, Nancy Harris and Samir Yazbek.
And while we’re on the subject of arts for children, Action for Children’s Arts (ACA) is hosting a conference about the lack of funding for children’s arts on June 19 at the Unicorn theatre. The charity’s patron, actor Peter Duncan and children’s author Michael Morpurgo are both taking part.
Findings from an ACA report published on 1 June show that children under 12 make up fifteen per cent of the UK population but get only one per cent of the arts funding. The report - based on Freedom of Information requests made by the charity - questions the current funding policies of the national Arts Councils and the British Film Institute, as well as the programming policies of flagship arts organisations including the BBC.
Lastly, Beckenham-based Herbert Justice Academy (HJA) Performing Arts is celebrating its 15th anniversary and on Saturday I attended its birthday concert at Bloomsbury Theatre. And a very upbeat occasion it was too.
Founded by Alan Justice (and named after his father) in 1997 with seven children in a church hall, HJA now owns its own building at Elmers End, complete with theatre and café and teaches hundreds of children dance, singing and drama every week. It also runs a full time vocational course for which assisted places and scholarships in association with The Stage are available.
Justice has also recently launched HJA Skateworld for off-ice skating tuition and events in partnership with Karen Coombes. So there’s a lot to celebrate. No wonder the children performing last Saturday and their parents in the audience were having such a ball. It was, for example, good to see such an accomplished demonstration of off-ice skating and I particularly enjoyed the Tap Senior group in Runaway Baby.