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The Stage Scholarships 2015: CPA Studios

2014 winners Ashlee Young with principal Colin Putz at The Stage new year party. Photo: Alex Brenner

If you are dynamic and have personality and talent, CPA Studios might well be the training school for you, says Lisa Martland

When 18-year-old Ashlee Young won last year’s CPA Studios scholarship in association with The Stage she said: “For such a long time, I have been dreaming of doing this kind of training. I didn’t think the day would come, but now it really has.”

Young dreamt of training full-time at CPA Studios, part of Colin’s Performing Arts Group, in the London Borough of Romford, having attended the weekend stage school from the age of eight. However, she was shocked when principal Colin Putz told her she had been awarded a place on the three-year full-time musical theatre diploma course.

Now it’s the turn of another talented young performer to win a scholarship of £26,000 towards training on that same course at a college that aims to ‘inspire and nurture the creative talent of each student by providing unique and practical training for the future professional’.

The original CPA, founded by former performer Putz as a stage school for youngsters, celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014. Twelve years after the establishment opened its doors, the full-time college training began to take shape. In fact, Colin’s Performing Arts Group now comprises the school, the CPA Studios college and an in-house agency, as well as all the highly qualified staff and industry professionals who visit as guest tutors. The three-year level six diploma in professional musical theatre is validated by Trinity London and College for Dance, Education and Training accredited.

Putz explains that while the course is driven by musical theatre, this does not mean the skills taught cannot lead to success in all aspects of the performing arts world. One of CPA’s best-known graduates is actor James Buckley, who plays Jay in Channel 4’s The Inbetweeners. Others have gone on to work in regional productions, UK tours, film, the commercial sector and the music industry. There are also plenty of successes on the West End stage, including Natalie McQueen (Wicked), David O’Reilly (The Book of Mormon), Sarah O’Connor (The Commitments) and actor/singer Jack Shalloo (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

Along with industry professionals who work with students on specific pieces from current shows, other modules reflect other in-demand areas of the industry. In the second year, for example, there is a focus on theatre in education.

Training for a career in musical theatre may appear to be all about becoming a triple-threat performer – actor, singer, dancer – but for CPA Studios it is also about learning the ins and outs of an industry that continues to evolve. Equal emphasis is put on professional practice classes that teach would-be artists about everything from audition technique to how to look after their own business.

Putz is looking for applicants who show individuality. “There’s no specific type, just dynamic individuals who have talent, a flair for the industry, and personality,” he says. “We don’t want to clone students into performers who turn out looking, speaking and behaving the same.”

The talent and professionalism demonstrated by CPA students and graduates has always impressed school patron, Olivier award-winning choreographer Stephen Mear: “They have been prepared and taught in such a way that this respect and hard-working attitude is one of the priceless attributes of their training.”

Putz describes CPA as a small college with an intake of 30 students a year. “Everyone who auditions cannot believe the atmosphere in the building,” he says.

If you are a natural, gifted and dedicated actor in the making, check out the details below on how to apply.

The Stage Scholarships with CPA Studios

Course: Musical theatre diploma
Education level: Post-school
Number of scholarships offered: One part scholarship
Value of scholarships: £26,000
What costs are covered?: About 75% of total fees (three years’ tuition will cost £33,660 September)
Location: Romford, London
Audition date: April 27. Candidates need to demonstrate potential in at least two of the three disciplines required for a career in musical theatre. The audition includes a ballet class, a jazz class, a solo dance, a duologue (provided an interview with the principal and/or the course leader.
How to apply: Complete the online form by logging on to www.cpastudios.co.uk.
Audition fee: £35.
Application deadline: April 17. For enquiries, email: collegeadmin@cpastudios. co.uk or telephone on 01708 766007. Applications for the scholarship are welcome from anyone who is aged 16 or over on September 1, 2015

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