Spirit Young Performers Company’s students regularly work in West End shows and all its elite students get their first choice drama schools, Paul Vale reports
Last year, the Spirit Young Performers Company partnered with The Stage for the first time, offering a selection of places on its unique curriculum of musical theatre and dance training. SYPC and the associated Spirit Young Dance Company have created a new model of showcasing student talent. Each week, the company professionally films a different showcase and then streams it online to its own YouTube channel. This digital innovation has proved extremely popular, as Spirit founder and company director Sophie Boyce explains.
“This is where we are different to any other school. It’s an incredibly creative process, so students are constantly working towards performances that are professionally filmed and released to our audience online, which is nearing 50 million viewers.”
These viewers regularly include industry professionals, casting directors, agents and talent scouts, leading to groups performing on prime-time ITV, at the Royal Albert Hall, West End Live and the O2 Arena.
This year there are three scholarships on offer: one full scholarship covering musical theatre and dance plus two half-scholarships for musical theatre and dance.
The academy has been running for five years and is currently operating classes for 200 students. The faculty is made up of a mix of highly trained dance instructors and a selection of West End professional practitioners. To supplement this, every week a new professional from either the West End, TV or film will run a masterclass. They may be a performer or a casting director, choreographer, dance captain or musical director. The school has a strong success rate at professional auditions and every cast change of Matilda the Musical has featured students from SYPC.
Our kids are consistently working in West End shows
“The same is true of School of Rock,” adds Boyce. “Our kids are consistently working in West End shows. We’re in our first year of having students graduate at 16 or 18 years old. All of our elite students who have applied for drama schools have been given their first-choice options at schools such as Emil Dale, Arts Ed, Urdang and Doreen Bird.”
In 2017, 14-year-old Harry Tunningley from Essex was one of the winners of the performer’s company scholarship. Tunningley said: “I feel like I have been recognised for my potential in acting, singing, dancing and performing. It gives me the chance to work with professionals to build on my strengths and highlight and develop my weaknesses with professional guidance and support.”
Another winner from this first-year partnership with The Stage was 17-year-old Tyler Davis, originally from California, who won an 85% scholarship. “Since joining Spirit I have felt a massive improvement in my performance. I am so excited about my future with Spirit and I am very thankful for this opportunity.”
Boyce adds: “Talent and potential are important factors but it’s hugely important that students are happy. It’s not all robots marching in line. It’s very important they have personality and passion for what they’re doing.”
Course: Spirit Young Performers Company and Spirit Young Dance Company
Educational level: School age
Number of scholarships offered: One full scholarship covering musical theatre and dance company, one 50% musical theatre scholarship and one 50% dance company scholarship
Value of scholarship: £12,000
What costs are covered? Term fees and half-term intensives
Where is the school? Classes take place from Monday to Saturday in Kentish Town, London and in Old Street on Sundays
Audition date: May 12 between 10am and 1pm at the Dance Attic Studios, 368 North End Road, Fulham, London, SW6 1LY
How do I apply? Complete the online form marking that you wish to be considered for The Stage Scholarship
Audition fee:£15 – which incorporates three hours of classes with the SYPC/SYDC faculty
Audition requirements: Applicants applying for The Stage Scholarship attend the same audition as regular applicants. Musical theatre and dance company applicants will be taken through a series of dance classes and exercises. Musical theatre and singing team applicants will be asked to sing a song of their choice. All applicants will have a short interview with our panel to learn about their goals and ambitions.