Performers take next step in pursuit of limelight

alicia-forde-phoebe-williams-kloe-beswick-george-fairclough-andrew-quickFORMER Priestley students have helped this year’s cohort of performers secure their places at the UK’s most prestigious theatre schools.

A record 39 offers were made to the college’s BTEC Performing Arts students from establishments such as Mountview, The Urdang Academy and Trinity Laban Conservatoire – the equivalents of Oxford and Cambridge to those interested in performance.

Head of Performing Arts Sarah Graham said Priestley alumni had helped the 31 members of the Class of 2016 secure their places.

“It is a case of success breeds success,” she said. “Former Priestley students who have gone on to study at these prestigious theatre schools have returned to help the 2016 cohort in all kinds of ways.

“They were able to share the secrets of the audition process including everything from how you should walk into the room to what you should wear.”

Among those who have progressed are Nick Gartland and Phoebe Williams who are both going on to study musical theatre at Guildford School of Acting after taking leading roles in Priestley’s recent sell-out performances of Urinetown.

Paige Fenlon will be studying at Doreen Bird College of Dance, Music and Theatre Performance while Emily Meechan will be pursuing acting at East 15 School of Acting, which includes an Oscar nominee and many familiar faces amongst its alumni.

Runcorn’s George Fairclough will be studying musical theatre at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and Alicia Forde will be following the footsteps of Amanda Holden, Eddie Marsan and countless popular television actors at Mountview.

Sarah said the young stars had also benefitted from one-to-one audition work with tutors during their time at Priestley, which had seen them blossom.

“We could see from day one that they were a talented group, but they would be the first to admit they came to us unsure about how to fully apply their abilities,” she said.

Their talent was certainly unlocked as 35% of the group achieved triple distinction star on results day – the BTEC equivalent of A*A*A* at A-Level. More than 90% achieved triple distinctions.

Not only did they learn from former Priestley students, some also travelled to America and took a class with Broadway actor Aaron Kaburick.

However, it was seeing former Priestley College student Oliver Ormson perform in The Book of Mormon on the West End stage that truly inspired them.

“Seeing a former Priestley student in one of the top productions in the West End was a great moment for them because they left thinking if Oliver could do it then so could they,” said Sarah.

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