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The Stage Scholarships 2013: Expressions Academy of Performing Arts

Johara House, Samantha Stanbridge and Victoria Webb, winners of the 2012 Expressions scholarships. Photo: Alex Brenner

Watch students gathered in the green room at the Expressions Academy of Performing Arts and it is difficult to spot the young people waiting for auditions. Everyone is relaxed and welcoming and chatting. The friendliness, the family atmosphere is all around.

The Expressions Academy is located in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, and today we announce the first of two The Stage/ Expressions Academy of Performing Arts Scholarships to start in September. Each worth £23,400 in tuition fees for the three-year musical theatre course, both also bear the name of a star patron.

This week’s award – the Ben Richards Musical Theatre Scholarship is in honour of star dancer and actor Ben Richards, who is a patron at Expressions. “It was important for me to have goals and people to inspire me,” he says. “I hope this scholarship will inspire someone to achieve their goals and make their dream a reality.”

This will be the fourth year that Expressions has been a partner in The Stage Scholarships scheme. Previous winners of the scholarship soon settled in to life at the academy and they are certainly thriving.

Ciara Lyons, from Crawley, is in her final year and looks a promising prospect. A bright future is also predicted for Fowzia Madar, from Bristol, who is in her second year.

See them performing with the other students at this year’s Stage-sponsored Move It/ Perform events at London’s Olympia, March 8-10. Expressions Academy will be on stand 248 at the Move It event, so go along and ask your questions. They will be performing on the main stage and in the Showcase Theatre, so check your programme for the times.

Mansfield is in Robin Hood country, equidistant from the M1 and the A1, and there are trains to Nottingham’s main-line station. Living is affordable, life is peaceful but there are bright lights should they be required. The town’s lovely 600-seat Palace Theatre is used by the academy, as are other nearby venues, and annual showcases are held in London. This year the summer showcase will be staged at RADA.

Maxine Glasby is the principal at Expressions. She wants her students to be remembered for their human qualities and their willingness to work as a team as much as their performing skills.

“Expressions became full-time ten years ago because I knew parents who were concerned at sending their children down to London at 16 years of age,” she explains.

“We have excellent facilities and we are in the largest town in the country. I didn’t just want to keep the academy local. I wanted the same calibre of teaching as the London colleges. Working professionals were eager to get out of London to teach here. They saw it as a refreshing change. We want our students to be the best that they can be.”

Head of singing Lynn Nelson, a widely admired teacher, has been at Expressions almost since the academy became full-time. She enjoys being there and loves the energy and passion of the students. “I find ways of tapping into that passion and generating that passion. They leave here knowing how to sing and how to flavour the words.”

Dance teacher Jordi Guitart, who hails from Barcelona and teaches across the UK, talks of the academy’s students’ deep interest in their craft. London-based friends of Guitart’s are regularly up in Mansfield taking masterclasses with the students.

“I have taught here from the beginning,” he says. “The school being out of London does not matter. The students are so enthusiastic, so open to new ideas and I get time to work with them on a one-to-one basis. They make the job a pleasure. The boys especially are deeply interested in their craft.”

Interested? Is Expressions the place for you? Winning one of The Stage/Expressions Academy of Performing Arts Scholarships will take the worry out of paying for training. Three years of intense training at the academy will ensure you are fully prepared for the world of work. Well, what are you waiting for?

Fill in your application here

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