Being a student at Franklin really stood me in good stead for a career in musical theatre. The teachers in the drama and dance department have solid industry backgrounds – which is rare in a Sixth Form College. It meant that I benefited from first-hand experience of auditioning for drama school from people who had been there, done it and worked in the business.
Graham Williams really helped me to hone my audition pieces, and he was always very honest, which is a good thing – you have to be able to take criticism in this business! His practical drama lessons were really helpful in setting me up for drama school, but the more academic side of the course was useful too – learning how to dissect a text is just as important.
I wasn’t the strongest dancer, but Claire White was really encouraging and helped me to develop the stamina I needed for auditioning, and later for the long days at drama school. Jill and David Parker in the music department were brilliant too – they would always play through an accompaniment for me if they had ten minutes to spare.
I still keep in touch with several of my Franklin teachers which I think says a lot!
The opportunity to take part in enrichment activities at Franklin was invaluable and I took principal roles in both musicals and in Shakespeare plays during my time at college. My role as Lady Macbeth was I think critical in my development, and the reason I landed a place at drama school. Lots of people can sing and dance, but being able to act a classical text gave me an edge.
After Franklin I studied at Mountview. The hours were long (up to 10 hours a day, 5 days a week), and discipline was really important. Not everybody in my classes was used to this, but Graham had always instilled discipline in the rehearsal room, and worked very professionally, so I knew what was expected of me.
Since graduating from Mountview I have been really lucky. I successfully auditioned for a role in the musical version of ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’ which toured the country, and I had a wonderful time visiting many different cities and staying in hotels for free! After that I worked on a singing game which will be coming out soon for X-Box and PlayStation. More recently I have been appearing in the musical ‘The Baker’s Wife’ (as the Baker’s Wife) at the Drayton Arms Theatre in South Kensington. The music is by Stephen Schwartz (who also wrote the music for ‘Wicked’) and I’ve been getting good reviews – I shall be sad when the run is over!
Being in the theatre business is hard work, but at Franklin you are pushed to work hard and stay focused which will serve you well in any industry.