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19 Aigbuth Road Liverpool, Merseyside, L17 4JR

Liverpool Theatre School is among the first to have been granted the rights to perform the musical, which made its West End debut last summer at The London Palladium starring Rufus Hound, Denise Welch and Gary Wilmot. The Wind in the Willows musical, is set to keep audiences captivated with comedy, adventure and thrills as performers tell the story of Toad’s daring escape to defend Toad Hall after he is imprisoned by the inhabitants of the Wild Wood. The family show also features exuberant choreography by Liverpool Theatre School graduate Graeme Pickering.

 

Maxine Ellis, Principal at Liverpool Theatre School, whose students have gone on to appear in hit shows from the West End to Broadway, said: “We are hugely excited to be among the first to put on this brand new musical adaptation of The Wind in the Willows. “The family show is set to be a wild theatrical adventure and audiences are in for a real treat as students bring this much loved classic tale to life. Rehearsals are in full swing and we are looking forward to putting on a fantastic performance.” The Wind in the Willows has been adapted into a musical by Oscar winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes with Olivier award winning composer and lyricist duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.

 

Liverpool Theatre School, based on Aigburth Road, is only one of two places in the north west to offer students the highly regarded Trinity College London diploma in both professional musical theatre and professional acting. Tickets to Liverpool Theatre School’s production of The Wind in the Willows at The Epstein Theatre cost £11 each (plus booking fee) and are available now at https://tinyurl.com/ydxszuzo.

 

Watch the preview of The Wind in the Willows musical at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=18&v=hZN0i--R2b0 .

 
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We are thrilled to announce that Liverpool Theatre School is taking over one of Merseyside’s top dance academies, Studio 76. As part of the acquisition, Liverpool Theatre School Principal, Maxine Ellis, will head up both training organisations. 

Studio 76, based on the edge of Liverpool city centre, provides fully funded dance training for young people from the age of 14. Places are limited to just 20 performers every year and students are required to pass an audition to secure a place on the training college’s BTEC courses. Academic results are also taken into account as part of the application process.

Maxine Ellis, Principal, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be taking over the running of Studio 76, which has a fantastic reputation for its dance training. Studio 76 attracts guest teachers and choreographers from the West End, as well as some of the best London dance academies and I am looking forward to ensuring the continued success of both the college and its students.   

“Bringing Studio 76 together with Liverpool Theatre School is really going to help improve opportunities for the young performers training in the city, allowing them to move seamlessly from the age of 14 right up to a professional level.”

Both Studio 76 and Liverpool Theatre School attract students from across the UK.

Find out more about Studio 76 at www.studio76.org.uk

Studio 76

 

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Last week we caught up with our brilliant graduate Camille Mesnard. Camille is 29 and graduated from LTS 7 years ago in 2010. Since then Camille has been up to all sorts from being on the BBC TV programme ‘Over The Rainbow’ for Andrew Lloyd Webber, to playing the roles of Beauty, Snow White and Jill in Panto’s. She has been a part of ‘Children of Eden’ at the Prince of Wales theatre alongside Louise Dearman, Oliver Thornton, Gareth Gates and Lauren Samuels. She has also done contracts on the Regent and Oceania cruise ships for Jean Ann Ryan Production. She played Miriam in the new musical ‘Slaves of the Kingdom’ at the Edinburgh Festival, Understudied and played both Belle and Mrs Potts in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ for stage entertainment. She was a part of the cast of “Singin’ in the Rain” at the Châtelet (Paris) for Stephen Mear, Robert Carsen and Gareth Valentine. She has been a lead singer in the Europe tour of ‘Disney in concert’ for Incredible Management alongside a 45-piece orchestra. Currently, she is doing the reprise of “Singin’ in the Rain” at the Grand Palais. And like that all wasn’t enough she also produced her own show ‘Homage to Edith Piaf’ as a guest entertainer on cruise ships with her American agent ‘Tad Management’. We caught up with Camille and asked her a few questions, first we asked, where do you want to be in 5 years? She replied;

I want to just carry on making a living of what I love most. This industry is tough for EVERYONE. Even the people that you may think “have made it” do not always work, it is virtually impossible. I would love for my guest entertainer career to grow, as my show is very important to me, but I would also love to try different things such as voice overs, commercials etc. I would also love to open my own musical theatre school in the south of France, where I am originally from, but not just yet. Honestly though, as long as I still sing and act for a living I will be a very happy lady.

It is very nice to know that you are still as passionate about performing now as you were when you studied with us. Keep working hard and we’re sure you’ll get to where you want to be. Secondly we asked Camille, what did you enjoy most about LTS? She answered;

The care that I received and the lessons I got given by wonderful teachers. When I first came to LTS I could not even speak English properly. I found some wonderful friends that corrected me non-stop and some teachers that went the extra mile to give me private diction lessons. I just felt as though the teachers were behind me and they wanted me to succeed, always. One thing is for sure, the hard work is for you to be done, teachers are not there to express how wonderful you are, on the contrary, they are there to tell you what needs working on. I can’t stress enough how important it is to concentrate on you and your work instead of who got the solo, the centre stage spot and the better mark. What LTS is good at is trying to make you shine at the best of your ability.

It is lovely to hear such kind words about our brilliant staff! With our auditions just around the corner we asked Camille, why should prospective students choose LTS? She replied;

Because it is crucial to be given a chance and feel confident about who you are as an artist. I have met dozens and dozens of students from the top 2/3 London MT schools who were not even involved in their showcase. They did not do a step of dance or sang a single note because there was simply too many of them in the class and were not given the chance to show who they were during the duration of their course. They graduated with no chance whatsoever to show their talents. How do you get an agent then? LTS gave everyone a chance. That was the case throughout the three-year course. We all sang solos on a weekly basis if front of each other. We all had a part, even a very small one, in the plays we were working/putting on. We were all dancing, even if we were at the back with the least technique! When you are then, out there, at auditions, it helps tremendously.

We try to push our students to better themselves at all aspects of performing as like Camille says, when you enter the real world it benefits you massively. Finally, we asked Camille, what is your favourite memory/story of you time at LTS? She replied;

That is such a tough question. I literally have too many. We had a lot of laughs. This might be a little rude, but so what… We were working on ‘Once a Catholic’ by Mary O’Malley. There was that scene where three school girls are talking about a man’s parts and there was that one word that I really could not figure out- “willy”. I felt as though if I got that word, I would understand the meaning of the whole thing a lot more. Well, I felt so comfortable with my class and teacher that I simply put my hand up and asked, “what is a willy?”. Everyone laughed out loud, a few of them were actually crying and to make it all worse the teacher had to explain. I don’t think I have ever felt so embarrassed then… but I now love that story.

Thank you for your time Camille and we wish you all the best in your future projects. Keep working hard and the dreams will come true, it sounds like you’re well on your way!

Come and see us soon!

Liverpool Theatre School

Graeme

This week we caught up with our fantastic graduate, Graeme Pickering. Graeme is 30 and graduated from LTS in 2010, since then he has successfully worked professionally in the industry, turning his hand to many different things. Graeme began working for Celebrity Cruise Lines new production company as their London Casting Associate in 2015. Within his role, he has been lucky enough to work with the casting team not only in London, but within Europe also. Graeme works in various distinguished full time dance and theatre schools across the UK, training aspiring students to succeed in show business. Most recently, Graeme has taught regularly at Elmhurst Ballet School, Studio 79 (Leicester), Jelli Studios (Liverpool) and Funky Studios. He has delivered workshops at LIPA, Leicester College of Performing Arts, Expressions Academy of Performing Arts, Chantry Dance School, Centre Pointe Studios, Rare Studios, Creative Academy and Liverpool Theatre School to name a few! As well as choreographing for various agent showcases across the UK, other choreography credits include Beauty and the Beast (Palace Theatre, Newark), The Masked Ball (Tatton Park, Cheshire), Jack and the Beanstalk (Palace Theatre, Newark), The Great Gatsby (Branston), Beauty and the Beast (Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl), ‘Loserville’ and ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ (Capstone Theatre, Liverpool). During his time as a performer, Graeme was fortunate to travel the world on luxury cruise lines performing in first class production shows. He worked for Costa Cruises, Carnival Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and the prestigious, world famous company – Cunard Line. Graeme was also fortunate to be a part of the celebrations for the Olympics London 2012. We caught up with Graeme and asked him a few questions, first we asked, “Where do you want to be in 5 years time?” He replied;

Still doing what I am doing but even more projects! I love creating new choreographic work, finding new talent and also teaching and mentoring students.

It’s always great to find that one of our students has found such a passion for teaching as our staff do here. Secondly we asked, “What did you enjoy most about LTS?” He replied;

I loved the happy vibe the school has. All the students get along together and it’s one big, happy, dysfunctional family! I have visited a few times now to teach and choreograph 3rd year musicals and the vibe is still the same!

With our auditions coming up we thought we’d ask Graeme, “Why should prospective students chose LTS?” He replied;

Excellent musical theatre training the north of England which produce excellent talent. Celebrity Cruises who I am the UK Casting Associate for have hired a number of graduates over the past 3 years!

Finally we asked Graeme, “What is your favourite memory/story of your time at LTS?” He replied;

My favourite memory of LTS is working the studio with my year group who have gone on to achieve great things. There has been so many success stories from my year and it makes me proud and happy every day to think these friends have achieved their dreams since graduating!

It was great to hear from you Graeme, keep doing what you’re doing! We’re all very proud!

Thank you for your time,

Liverpool Theatre School

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Last week we caught up with our brilliant graduate Ian Gerard Whyte. Ian is 36 and graduated from LTS twelve years ago in 2005. After graduation, Ian moved to Ireland to study for his Bachelors degree in classical singing/performance. He auditioned for Ireland’s Premiere Opera Company, Opera Ireland. He worked for them as a resident chorister at first, then Fight director, principle singer, and concert singer, performing in the Gaiety Theatre Dublin. He has performed many roles in several different opera’s including ‘La Traviata’, ‘La Cenorentola’ and ‘Turandot’ to name but a few. He had the pleasure of playing Gaston in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast for festival productions, from 2010-2011.
 In 2011 he worked on Don Giovanni as chorister for Lyric Opera and played Gaston again for New Lyric Opera’s production of Beauty and the Beast in northern Irelands Grand Opera House.
 In 2012 he played the role of Danilo in The Merry Widow touring the Canary Islands with a G&S opera Company, Trent Opera. I was also chorister and understudy to Tristan in the opera Tristan and Isolde for Wide Open Opera at the Bord Gais (Grand Canal) Energy Theatre.
 In 2013 he took the leap into television and worked with the Game of Thrones production, in the VFX department, performing as the Ice Giant and controlling the Giant Mammoth.
 He was then able to get a job at my old university (Dublin Institute of Technology – DIT) as Assistant Director on their public productions of Noyes Fludde and subsequently he decided to undertake his Masters Degree in Directing for theatre, in University College Dublin. In 2014 he turned to television again and was delighted to get the opportunity to work along side Gillian Anderson on BBC’s ‘The Fall’ as one of Nash’s henchmen. 
He worked as chorister and chorus manager for both, Wide Open Opera, on their production of Nixon in China in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre and RTE’s production of Carmen in Dublin’s National Concert Hall. He continued to work with the DIT as Assistant director and Fight director on their 2014 productions of La Boheme, The Merry Widow and their revival of Noyes Fludde. During my Masters degree 2014/2015 he worked for Wexford Festival Opera, playing the role of Naaman in Salome. He was also fight director of UCD TV’s short film the Echo Chronicles and Fight director for UCD’s Drama production of Othello. At the start of 2015 he played the character Mariner Punter 1 in John Breen and Andrew Synnots premiere opera, in its debut performance; Breakdown at Dublin’s National Concert Hall. Then he worked with Opera Theatre company as Assistant Director and Fight Director for their tour of the opera, Rigoletto. He was then cast to play Sante in Opera Theatre Company’s national tour of Suzanne’s Secret. In 2016 he wanted to learn more about other aspects of the production industry, so whilst working with the DIT he took on the role of Production Manager. As well as the role of Stage Technician for Opera Theatre Company on their production of La Boheme on tour. Following this, he signed a 3 year modelling contract to appear on Denny’s Fire and Smoke product range, appearing on billboards across the country and on their range of meats in supermarkets. He also landed a long term contract on the TV series Into The Badlands season 2, as a Stunt Abbot, Overseer, Clipper, Mech, Hand double, Foot double and Body double. The start of 2017 saw him play the role of John Dundon in a crime reconstruction tv series on TV3 and a featured killer on RTE/BBC’s; Red Rock. He took time out of performing during the summer to train with the British Action Academy and obtain my Screen Combat Certificates. He also completed their Gun Course and Live Action Stunt Training course which he also currently holds the record for completing and passing all of their courses within a 5 month period. He has recently worked on ‘Into the Badlands’ season 3, as part of the Stunts/Fight unit and Drama unit. He has just finished filming on the TV series Vikings playing the role of a Viking King, working along side Steven Berkoff. The next couple months will see Ian return to Liverpool, to play the role of Jason Woods in Sky One’s new TV series; Bulletproof. It truly is amazing not only how much Ian has done over the years but also how varied the work is. It shows that if you are committed and passionate about getting to where you want to be, you will get there. With all of this amazing work behind him we asked Ian, where do you want to be in 5 years time?

I don’t actually know, if I have learnt anything over the past 15 years, it is that plans and paths change. So, I suppose I would eventually like to teach drama/performance full time. However my career is/has been so eclectic, I think the best 5 year plan I can have, is to trust my Agent!

It is great to see that Ian is interested in teaching and we’re hoping that some of that is down to his experience at LTS. We decided to ask Ian a few questions about his time at LTS, firstly we asked, what did you enjoy most about LTS?

This is hard to pinpoint, because I loved LTS, even the hard days were great. The teachers were amazing and really sympathetic to my lack of dance skills. However, I loved the stage combat, the singing and getting to perform in public.

We try to offer our students as much training in all aspects of performing and a lot of students favourite class is definitely ‘Stage Combat’. With our auditions for next years intake just around the corner, we asked Ian, why should prospective students consider studying at LTS?

Prospective students should choose LTS because of its varied and diverse training program. I have never been anywhere, where there is so much training for all aspects of performance. I have worked in theatre on plays, musicals, operas and on TV/Film and how I conduct myself is all down to how I was initially trained at LTS.

It is great to know that the training you received at LTS is what has benefited you in all aspects of your work. Finally we asked Ian, what is your favourite memory/story of your time at LTS?

I have so many great memories of studying in LTS. I remember a lot of mischief and a lot of banter.
 The funniest thing though, has to be a stage combat class where we learnt how to have our heads bashed off the wall. One person in my class decided to mimic a bull. She shouted, “Hey everyone, look at me”. Imitating a bulls horns with her hands and scuffed her foot along the floor like a bull about to charge! She charged at the wall, gaining speed. She reached the wall but she did not bounce off, she just, sort of kept going in to the wall. We all looked on in hysterics as there was just thee bottom half of this person hanging out of a rather large hole in the wall saying, “I’m ok!”.
 I will always remember the fun friendly atmosphere. It might sound strange, but I have the fondest memories of walking through those front doors each day and feeling at home.


A lot of the staff remember this one! Thank you for your time Ian! We’re all so glad to see what you’ve been up to and we’re very excited to see what comes next! Best of luck in everything you do! Pop in and see us soon!

Liverpool Theatre School

Testimonial

“I was very impressed with the students from Liverpool Theatre School when I first met them quite by accident when I was playing Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly at the Liverpool Empire theatre. The students were all so full of talent and enthusiasm that when I was asked to work with the graduates I said yes in a heartbeat.”

info@liverpooltheatreschool.co.uk

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19 Aigbuth Road Liverpool
Merseyside
L17 4JR

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