For the past five years, the Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama has been incredibly generous as a partner in The Stage Scholarships scheme, but for 2016 the school is going just that little bit further.
Not only are there two full scholarships (each worth £27,600) – one for a boy and one for a girl – up for grabs on the three-year professional musical theatre diploma course, there is also a full award on offer for the foundation musical theatre course (worth £4,000). That’s £59,200 worth of training on the table.
The Nottingham-based school is special for a number of reasons, not least because principal Frances Clayton developed the three-year musical theatre diploma (accredited by the Council for Dance Education and Training and validated by Trinity College London) back in the late 1980s, before other colleges began offering training in the genre. MADD was the first musical theatre college to open outside London in 1988, and 50-year anniversary celebrations are already in the pipeline for 2017.
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 areas, plus we know how important it is to keep up with the current demands of the industry.”
MADD graduates are found in West End musicals (Florivaldo Mossi is a leading member of the Thriller Live London cast, for example) and in UK and international touring productions, as well as in TV and film. Jay McGuinness, a member of boyband the Wanted and last year’s Strictly Come Dancing champion, was in the class of 2009.
Making sure MADD’s training stays in touch with a constantly changing industry is a group of dedicated tutors, 95% of whom are still regularly working in the industry.
In addition, professionals who visit the academy include choreographers (such as Anthony van Laast), casting directors and agents. MADD patrons David Essex and Olivier award-winning writer David Wood have also been known to pop in.
Clayton enjoyed a successful career as a performer and now sits on several exam boards. However, her loyalties begin and end with the academy. It is there that she and her colleagues aim to produce training that matches, or even betters, the standard being offered in London.
Clayton adds: “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.”
Winning the scholarships for the three-year musical theatre course was certainly life changing for 18-year-old Adam Wicks, from Suffolk, and Rachel Head, 22, from Stockton-on-Tees. Rachel says: “To be awarded The Stage Scholarship gives both me and my family a sense of security that I can go on to study my three years at MADD, and it feels like a dream.”
Course: Three-year professional musical theatre diploma/one-year foundation course
Educational level: Post-school
Number of scholarships offered: Two full scholarships on the three-year course (one male, one female) and one full scholarship on the one-year course
Value of scholarship: £27,600 over three years/£4,000 over one year (£59,200 total)
What costs are covered? Fees
Where is the school? Nottingham
Audition date: May 8. The fee is £40 for students who have not already auditioned for 2016. No fee is required for students who have already auditioned and been accepted in 2016
How do I apply? Phone 0115 9110401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org  for application forms. Complete and send to: MADD College, Century House, Building B, 428 Carlton Hill, Nottingham NG4 1QA