The Gate cast
Upstage Dancer “Thank you for directing and running the summer School last week. The event was very successful, and the feedback has been uniformly positive. I think the kids did a great job!

- Julia Potts
Head of Education
Churchill Theatre, Bromley
Ambassador Theatre Group.

We produce fun and challenging 5-day long musical theatre courses in theatres, schools and art centres throughout the UK. Using brand-new, original musical productions that draw on a wide spectrum of musical influences, the students are carefully coached in singing, acting and dancing by specialists and, at the end of the week, they perform the 50-minute musical before an audience of family and friends in the theatre, studio or hall. The students are treated as professionals throughout and are offered a challenging week performing a contemporary musical specially written for the course. Teamwork is emphasised throughout the rehearsal period - the show won't work without it!


The programme is as follows:


Upstage Dancer Day 1 …

The students get to play a series of drama-based activities designed to achieve maximum fun and hilarity! They get a chance to act out ludicrous stories; role-play all sorts of characters (both human and animal) and improvise storylines. These activities are used to assess their singing, acting and dancing skills and later in the day, they get to try out lines, songs and dances from the show. Everyone goes home exhausted, having had a laugh a minute!

Upstage Dancer Day 2 …

As a result of yesterday's appraisal, the students are cast in the roles most suitable for them. Nobody gets left out and everyone is involved and there is plenty to do! The shows are specially written to give the cast lots of important lines, loads of group singing and tons of ensemble dancing! The script has its first read-through by the cast and the dance moves are sketched out. Solo singers are given their first one-to-one coaching from the musical director and are provided with all the music of the show on CD so they can learn and practice their featured songs at home in the evenings.

Upstage Dancer Day 3 …

Rehearsals continue. The musical is 'blocked' and movement planned. Further guidance from the musical director for both solo singers and group songs and linking scenes are rehearsed in depth. The dancing has been worked out by now and the students are put through their paces to the accompaniment of the actual recorded dance music. Further guidance from the musical director for both solo singers and the ensemble and particularly important scenes from the show are gone over in-depth.

Upstage Dancer Day 4 …

The fourth day is largely concerned with 'gluing' all the elements of the show together. Most of the songs, dances and lines have been learnt by now and time is spent putting these performances into context so that the show starts to work its magic. For instance, a solo singing performance will be combined with movement from the chorus or a dramatic scene may metamorphose into an ensemble dance piece. A song may intregrate the soloist with the backing vocalists or a simple dance routine will be performed for the first time in costume. Usually, the show gets 'tightened up' today - making sure that everyone is clear on cues, entrances and exits. The director also works closely with technical support as there will be a technical rehearsal.

Upstage Dancer Day 5 …

The big day! Sometimes it is the first chance students have had to see the stage and so they will need to grow familiar with the space they will be performing in and so entrances and exits will need to be familiarised. Any problem areas in the show will be addressed and ironed out today. Before lunch there will be a dress rehearsal followed by a second non-stop run-through directly after lunch. The 50 minute show is performed later in the afternoon before an invited audience.



Upstage Dancer“Thanks for a great week!"

- Will Forrest, Arts Manager
Horsebridge Arts & Community Centre
Whitstable (2009)