Suffolk/Essex: Drama workshops to feature West End finale

Lee Mead from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Yui Mok/PA Wire Lee Mead from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Andrew Hirst andrew.hirst@archant.co.uk
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
4:01 PM

Aspiring young performers from East Anglia will be able to appear in the West End for the grand finale of a musical theatre workshop led by industry professionals this summer.

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West End Week will be leading students between the ages of six and 21 through week-long masterclasses in preparation for their big stage debut in August.

Leading performers in musical theatre have been appointed to lead sessions on drama, singing and stage make-up at venues in Ipswich, Bury st Edmunds, Felixstowe and Colchester.

Students in all four towns will learn routines from West End hits including Les Miserables, We Will Rock You, Grease and Footloose, before joining together for a “special showcase” for family and friends at the end of the week on London.

Lee Mead, who was selected the title role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat after winning the BBC casting show Any Dream Will Do, has been appointed patron of the workshops.

He will be judging clips submitted by any of the performers who want to be selected for solo roles.

Project leader Mark Connell said he had was inspired to start the workshops after the closure of the Felixstowe Summer Youth Project, where he first honed his performing talents as a child.

The 32-year-old star of shows such as Mama Mia, Miss Saigon and Singing in the Rain, said it was a “real shame” when the old youth project came to a close as it had played a major role in developing his career today.

Now in its third year, this will be the first time students have been able to showcase their new skills on the big stage.

“Now we will be able to offer that climatic finish to the week,” Mr Connell said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn from West End professionals and then perform for friends and family at a major London theatre.”

Mr Connell, who grew up in Felixstowe but now lives in Tunstall, believes the workshops will offer a “rare chance to learn from a wide variety of people involved in the industry”.

Sessions are held from Monday, August 4, until Friday, August 8, with the final day involving the trip to London for the big performance.

Students are not required to audition for the workshops, unless they would like leading roles, and no previous experiences is necessary.

To find out more about the sessions, how much they cost and there they take place visit www.westendweek.co.uk.

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