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The Stage Scholarships 2015: Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama

2014 winners Luke Hayward and Lucy Barnes. Photo: Alex Brenner

couldn’t believe it, I am so grateful to Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama for giving me the chance. To have someone else believe in me like this means so much.”

That reaction from 18-year-old Luke Haywood from Skegness – one of last year’s The Stage/Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama Scholarship winners – is an indication of how much difference these awards make to young people who dream of pursuing a career in the performing arts.

Now in its fifth year as a partner, MADD – as the academy is known – is generously offering two full scholarships, one for a boy and one for a girl, each worth £26,400 (a total of £52,800). This is your chance to do three years training on the widely respected Council for Dance Education and Training-accredited course with no worries about covering the cost of the fees.

The Nottingham-based school is special for a number of reasons, not least because principal Frances Clayton developed its three-year professional musical theatre diploma (validated by Trinity College London) back in 1988, before other colleges began offering training in the genre.

The forward-thinking Clayton explains:

It had become obvious to me that for young performers to maximise job opportunities, they needed to concentrate equally on acting, singing and dancing. In the musical theatre timetable, we make sure they learn as much as they can in all the areas, plus we know how important it is to keep up with the current demands of the industry.

Making sure MADD’s training stays in touch with a constantly changing industry is a group of dedicated tutors, 95% of which are still regularly working in the industry. These include West End leading actors Glyn Kerslake and Shona Lindsay, who teach at the school on a weekly basis (subject to their performing commitments). 

In addition, professionals who visit the academy include choreographers, directors, agents and, yes, accountants (to advise students about tax and pensions). MADD patrons David Essex and Olivier award-winning writer David Wood have also been known to pop in.

For the other 2014 scholarship winner, Lucy Barnes, 18, from King’s Lynn, MADD offers the rare combination of an intimate, friendly environment and a top-class training:

The members of staff don’t hold back in telling you how hard the training is going to be, but they know you are going to be at your best if you feel comfortable. I have seen the range of people who have visited in the last year and the list is completely on par with some of the bigger colleges. So you get all the same expertise, but with an intimacy as well.

Something of a living legend in the dance world, Clayton enjoyed a successful career as a performer and now sits on several exam boards. However, her loyalties begin and end with the academy she began 48 years ago, and where she and her colleagues aim to produce training in the middle of the country that matches, or even betters, the standard being offered in London.

“Many students couldn’t contemplate the expense of living in London. Nottingham is not only a vibrant city, but it is much more affordable, has good transport links (only one hour and 45 minutes by train from London) and is accessible from Scotland, the north and the Midlands.”

MADD’s facilities are pretty impressive too, with the college having two sites situated side by side (20,000 square feet of space), including an in-house, 168-seat theatre.

The atmosphere at the college is particularly busy at the moment, as staff and students are preparing for six performances at the UK’s biggest dance event Move It, running at Olympia, London from February 13-15.

When both The Stage/MADD 2014 scholarship winners Luke and Lucy perform on that Move It stage, they will realising their ambitions in a way they never thought would be possible just 12 months ago.

So if you want to follow in their footsteps, find all the details about how to apply below.

The Stage Scholarships with MADD

Course: Three-year professional music theatre diploma
Education level: Post-school
Number of scholarships offered: Two (one male, one female)
Value of scholarships: £26,400 each
What costs are covered? Fees
Location: Nottingham
Audition date: Audition on April 26 with recall on May 17. There is a £38 audition fee.
How to apply: In writing – please send details (DOB, age, gender, address, email, phone, experience in dance/acting/singing, and professional credits and some details about yourself to:
MADD College, Century House, Building B,
42B Carlton Hill, Nottingham NG4 1HQ

Read more about The Stage Scholarships

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