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The Stage Scholarships 2017: Wac Arts

Wac Arts diploma students performing

Last year’s winner of The Stage Scholarship in association with Wac Arts, 16-year-old Londoner Anais Lone, is enthusiastic about the scheme: “Having the support of both Wac Arts and The Stage to guide me down this yellow brick road through the arts is amazing. Now I’m even more motivated to make everyone and myself proud. Watch this space.”

Though the training body may be a relatively new recruit to The Stage Scholarships scheme (joining in 2016), the charity is no novice in arts education, having provided affordable, inclusive arts training to thousands of young people in London over the past three decades.

On offer is an award worth £9,000 covering fees for the first year of the school’s Trinity College London-accredited three-year diploma in professional musical theatre. The course has been running in its current format since 2008 and its structure and content remain true to the organisation’s founding principles.

The rationale behind Wac Arts is to give young people, no matter what their background, access to a broad range of programmes in performing arts and media, and high-quality training led by industry professionals.

Last year’s winner Anais Lone

Previous Wac Arts alumni include film and TV actor Danny Dyer, Oscar-nominated actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste, director and playwright Che Walker, as well as MOBO award-winner Ms Dynamite. Patrons include Simon Callow, Ann Mitchell, Danny Sapani and Owen Teale.

For many years, a growing number of students have been attracted to an ethos that celebrates cultural heritage and diversity, offering training in performance techniques from around the world while still providing a solid foundation of contemporary, traditional and classical repertoires.

Wac Arts is based in the Old Hampstead Town Hall in Belsize Park, north-west London, a beautiful grade II-listed building with a modern twist. The centre houses dance and drama studios with fully sprung floors, rehearsal rooms, a performance space, recording studio, media suites, a pilates suite, study area and cafe.

Small class and year sizes (no more than 15 people are accepted on the diploma course each year) mean students are given plenty of one-to-one attention. This is vital, as Wac Arts often welcomes youngsters who have great talent, but are also overcoming huge personal challenges and need a substantial amount of pastoral support.

Recent diploma graduates have gone on to work in theatre, TV and film, as well as enjoying success as recording artists, composers and directors.

Chief executive Karen Napier comments: “To lead an organisation whose vision is to empower young people to change their world is an incredible privilege. Since its inception, Wac Arts has been an organisation committed to the best possible outcomes for disadvantaged young people, for diversity and for the arts.

“We’re delighted to be working with The Stage again this year. Scholarships like these give real opportunities for students who are immensely talented, where financial support makes a real and positive impact on their ability to access full-time training.”

Course: Three-year diploma in professional musical theatre
Educational level: Post-school
Number of scholarships offered: One full scholarship for the first year of the three-year course
Value of scholarship: £9,000
What costs are covered? Fees
Where is the school? Belsize Park, London
Audition dates and details: February 12, May 28, July 23. The audition is in three stages:
Stage 1 – Candidates will participate in group workshops in drama, dance and singing.
Stage 2 – Candidates will deliver a solo in all three art forms, in line with the following requirements:
Drama solo: this can be any published speech or monologue that can be delivered ‘off the page’.
Singing solo: a full song from any contemporary material (this can either be a cappella or with a backing track).
Dance solo: a maximum two-minute piece, with or without music.
Stage 3 – Candidates will then be invited to interview.
How to apply: Visit wacarts.co.uk/diploma to apply online or email diploma@wacarts.co.uk for more information.

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