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The Stage Scholarships 2019: Spirit Young Performers Company

The Stage and Spirit Young Performers Company scholarship winners from 2018, from left: Billy Vale, Layla Armstrong-Hughes, Hannah Hutchins and Imaan Guthrie. The Stage and Spirit Young Performers Company scholarship winners from 2018, from left: Billy Vale, Layla Armstrong-Hughes, Hannah Hutchins and Imaan Guthrie.
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Spirit Young Performers Company is offering three year-long scholarships across its dance and musical theatre courses. Paul Vale speaks to the company’s creative director Sophie Boyce

For the last two years, Spirit Young Performers Company has teamed up with The Stage to provide scholarship places at the exciting and innovative training establishment. This year, there are three scholarships available for young people to join either the dance or musical theatre company. This opportunity will allow three lucky students to train on a part-time basis – an award valued at £3,120.

Established in 2013 by its creative director Sophie Boyce, SYPC is unique in its approach to training and performance. Every week, production numbers are rehearsed, filmed and then uploaded to the company’s YouTube site to millions of online viewers worldwide.

“Every term we are working towards performances,” explains Boyce. “We’re very much about on-the-job training. Everything the students do is for a purpose and is going to be seen by a large audience because we have more than 60 million people watching our YouTube channel. The students know what they’re doing will have an audience and be seen, whether it’s on a live stage, which sometimes it is, or online. They constantly have to up their game because it’s not a showcase for the parents. It’s a showcase for a big audience.”

SYPC is offering three places on either of its key courses. Last year, the award was divided between six students, because the calibre of applicants was so high, with between 100 and 150 auditioning. This year, the company is offering one scholarship to the dance company, one to the musical theatre company and one across both companies, depending on auditions.

For all of the energy and drive in class, Spirit maintains a strong team atmosphere and remains very family orientated. Boyce is extremely enthusiastic when it comes to the emotional welfare of the students.

“Most of the kids will say their best friends are at Spirit even though they come from all over the country. But they would consider this to be their second home. It’s an incredibly creative space and we don’t just do songs. We do melodies and mash-ups and medleys, plus original work. It’s different all the time and there’s a lot to get your teeth into.”

Those wishing to audition for the musical theatre programme will need to prepare a song of their choice and prepare to sing a cappella. They will be taken through a series of dance exercises and have a short interview with the panel. Musical theatre applicants have a vocal audition and then take two or three dance classes with faculty members followed by a short interview. Dance company applicants will be expected to undertake dance classes with members of the dance faculty, including jazz, commercial and ballet plus a short interview.

“We’re looking for someone who is extremely passionate and has a genuine dedication towards the performing arts,” says Boyce. “We interview all the kids as well and we are very team-spirit-orientated, so someone who is kind and fun will fit in well with this unit we’ve created.”


Course details

Course: One-year part-time musical theatre programme and/or dance company
Educational level: School age/post-school
Number of scholarships offered: Three
Value of scholarship: £3,120
What costs are covered? Fees for a year’s part-time training (up to 10 hours per week, per scholarship winner), plus three half-term intensives/summer courses
Where is the school? London
Audition date: April 7 at Glasshill Studios, King’s Bench Street, London SE1 0QX. Nearest station: Waterloo
Audition fee: £15
How to apply: Applicants 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 also have a short interview with our panel where we will want to learn about your goals and ambitions.

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