Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 16

Guide to the business:

Musical Theatre

By Ryan Shore

Guide to the business: Musical Theatre

By Ryan Shore

Contents
2. Contents & About the author 3. Job Description
4. Job Description (continued)

5. Where to start
6. Where to start (continued)

7. Who you will work with 8. Director Who? 9. Director Who? (continued) 10. Director Who? About Stanislavski 11. Director Who? About Stanislavski (continued) 12. P.A. Organisations Equity 13. P.A. Organisations Equity (continued) 14. P.A. Organisations Equity (continued 2) 15. If all else fails 16. End Notes: Useful Stuff

A little bit about the author


BIO: Ryan started performing when he was 8 years old at Stage Coach Theatre School after 2 years of performing he knew it would be his future. Ryan has played many lead roles such as Bugsy Malone at the Bridge House Theatre in 2009. In 2010 Ryan started at Stratford-upon-Avon College for a Young Apprenticeship in acting.

~2~
All content is copyright www.ryanshore.co.uk

Guide to the business: Musical Theatre

By Ryan Shore

Musical Theatre Performer: About the job

here are various skills needed to be a musical theatre performer. Some of these skills can be taught but you also have to have a certain amount of talent. Most, but not all, musical theatre shows will require you to dance to an acceptable level. If you have two left feet or cant tell your left from your right a casting director is unlikely to cast you in a show which needs dancing. Some shows also the actors to dance to a higher level and may need you to be competent in say tap dance or street dance etc. There are shows like Les Miserables where they don t really have dancing as such, so an actor that can move could easily be cast in roles for this where they wouldnt be cast in a production of something like Chicago. Singing is a must for musical theatre, while there are many different styles, the ability to hold a tune is necessary. There is a need to have a variety of singing styles in your repertoire as different shows require different types of vocal ability. Les Miserables for example is classed as a soft opera and as such the songs in it are operatic in style. A show like We Will Rock You is light rock/pop in style and you will need a totally different vocal quality to be cast for this show. To be able to sing for up to 8 shows a week requires a lot of stamina for a singer and some shows make this more difficult. The song Bring Him Home again from Les Miserables, takes a massive amount of breath control, especially the end note, but this end note is what they call the money note , it stuns the audience and makes the song the success it is. You may also need to sing and dance at the same time which again will need stamina so the quality of the singing or dancing does not suffer.
~3~
All content is copyright www.ryanshore.co.uk

Guide to the business: Musical Theatre

By Ryan Shore

Acting is obviously an important part of the job. You need to get inside the character and become that person, but you also need to maintain the persona throughout the performance. The art of acting is even employed when you sing as your movements and facial expressions will emphasize the words of the song. You need the audience not to watch you perform but to actually step inside that characters life and live it with you. They need to wait with baited breath to see what happens next and feel the same joys and despondency as the character you are playing. An important part of these roles is to be able to memorise your scripts, routines and music scores (vocals). Can you imagine watching a performance where none of the actors knew their lines or songs and the dancers bumped into each other? This production wouldnt stay on the stage for long. I feel the ability to get along with the other cast members is an integral part of the job, a company that gels will put on a much better performance than a company that is always arguing. The ability to take direction is a must, if a director wants things done in a certain way then he or she is probably right, after all that is what they do for a living and they will be experienced in directing. Auditioning is a major part of being an actor, for every role there will be an audition. You are usually given a script either beforehand or at the audition, if it is beforehand you should learn the section they want you to read so you can be off book at the audition, this allows the casting directors to see that you can indeed learn lines. Always put as much acting as is necessary into the audition as you only get one chance to show what you can do, this will include facial expression and characterisation along with passion and emotion. You also need to remember that you could attend hundreds of auditions before you get a part, this could be for a variety of reasons like height, how you look etc. and not necessarily your ability.
~4~
All content is copyright www.ryanshore.co.uk

Guide to the business: Musical Theatre

By Ryan Shore

Where to start

ducation is an important part of a musical theatre performers life. Some people have never had singing, dancing or acting lessons but these are very rare. Although you can try to establish yourself straight from school at 16 most theatre companies will want you to be older (unless the part call for a young actor) and to have had some sort of formal training. This could have come from various places such as a university or theatre school. There are many of these training establishments some more well known that others. Most performers will have started performing at school in something like a nativity and progressed from there. At some point you may need to get additional help to build your skills. There are many ways to do this, if you look online or in the yellow pages you will find many local theatre groups for you to join, this helps you to learn the skill of actually being on stage in front of an audience that may not be family and friends, this is different to performing in front of your peers at school. For more specialised training you could join a dance school where you could learn things like tap dance or street dance etc. this may help you gain work when you are older. A vocal coach or singing teacher is always good as a trained voice will always sound different to an untrained voice. Singing lessons will also help with voice projection for acting as they will teach you how to breathe properly. When you leave school a local college or sixth form should be able to offer at least an acting qualification if they dont have a musical theatre course. These are normally one or two year courses depending on your entry level. The choice after college will depend on how you want to approach it. Some colleges are now offering a level 5 diploma which when taken with a one year PGCE will give you a teaching qualification.
~5~
All content is copyright www.ryanshore.co.uk

Guide to the business: Musical Theatre

By Ryan Shore

Another route is to go to University as you can study performing arts as a lot of universities, this will ultimately gain you a degree. Many people choose to go to a drama school. There are many drama schools and they dont all study the same things to the same degree so do look at the prospectus well and make sure they cover what you need. Here is a quick list of some of the main drama schools and universities in the UK: A few Performing Arts Institutions L.I.P.A. Liverpool Institution of Performing Arts.
Based in: Liverpool | Website: www.lipa.ac.uk

R.A.D.A. Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.


Based in: London | Website: www.rada.ac.uk

Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts


Based in: London | Website: www.italiaconti.com

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance


Based in: London | Website: www.trinitylaban.ac.uk

A few Universities with Theatre courses University of Birmingham.


Based in: Birmingham | Website: www.birmingham.ac.uk

Coventry University.
Based in: Coventry | Website: www.coventry.ac.uk

University of West London


Based in: London | Website: www.uwl.ac.uk

~6~
All content is copyright www.ryanshore.co.uk

Guide to the business: Musical Theatre

By Ryan Shore

Who you will work with

n your theatre career you will work with a lot of people, from directors to a band to choreographers, even other performers, but who are they and what do they do, here are a few main examples of people that a Musical Theatre Performer works with on a day to day bases.
Director The director is the head of the production, they tell each and every performer what to do. Read more about the Director on Page 8. Musical Director This director is the director of music in the production, Musical Directors are more commonly hired in Musicals and Operatic shows, they, just like the Director, direct, but a musical director directs the singing and orchestra, and is also very often the audition pianist and conductor for the show. Choreographer The creator of dance, if the show has dance it will also have a choreographer. The choreographer creates every dance move that is in the production, they plan every movement, they make sure that the dancers are fully rehearsed, and they sometimes also help to select dancers for certain roles in the show. They will sometimes have an Assistant Choreographer or will elect a dance captain from the cast.
(There are many more people that you would work with in the theatre field, but too many to mention here.)

~7~
All content is copyright www.ryanshore.co.uk

Guide to the business: Musical Theatre

By Ryan Shore

DIRECTOR WHO?

ot really your average time lord, well not a time lord at all, but one of the most important jobs in the theatre. The director is the somehow God of the production, what he or she says, goes, after all it is the directors show.
What does the director do? The director has many roles during the rehearsal period, here is a few of the tasks that a director has to undergo. Analysis of the script This is where the director will read the script to understand the play, getting all of his or her inspiration to direct the play. Overseeing the design and inspiration One of the jobs a Director has to do is oversee all of the design ideas the set designer and costume designer has, this is quite an important part of putting on a production, after all nearly every production has a set and costumes. Directing the actors Well, this is the most obvious part of the directors job, I mean its in the job title, this is where the director will give a direction or suggestion to the performer. As you can see a Director does many things in the production period of the show, but what education does he or she need to direct a production and where can a director get these qualifications, well most directors train to be actors and there are many drama schools across the UK that a director can get the sufficient skills and qualifications that he or she needs, some of the best directors have years of experience in acting, so some experience is needed to become a director. Examples of such Drama schools are on page 6 of this guide.

~8~
All content is copyright www.ryanshore.co.uk

Guide to the business: Musical Theatre

By Ryan Shore

Of course Director and Performer alike they both work with a lot of people, the director works with quite a lot of people in the production side of a performance, here are just some people that a director works with:
Performers These are all of the actors, singers and dancers in the production, the director tells the performer what to do, where to move and how to say each line, thus the name of Director, this of course is one of the most obvious tasks a director has to do in each production. Set Designer This is the very creative person who Designs the set, the director oversees this persons work and ideas in order for the set design to fit in with the play itself. Musical Director Another Director you say, well this director is the director of music in the production, Musical Directors are more commonly hired in Musicals and Operatic shows, they, just like the Director, direct, but a musical director directs the singing and orchestra, and is also very often the audition pianist and conductor for the show. The director would work with the musical director to add all of the different colours to the performance and to set the transitions into song.
(There are many more people that a director would work with in the theatre field, but too many to mention here.)

Yes you can definitely see that a Director works with a lot of people, but who are the real life Directors, anyone famous? There are many Directors all over the world, but they are never really pushed into the limelight it is generally the performers that are made famous from their theatre crusade, but there are some wellknown directors too, especially the ones that work in big Hollywood films, like Steven Spielberg and Tim Burton, but they arent who we are looking at in this guide, we are concentrating on theatre directors, most theatre directors are well-known for other things that they have done and not for directing itself.
~9~
All content is copyright www.ryanshore.co.uk

Guide to the business: Musical Theatre

By Ryan Shore

Constantin Stanislavski born in Moscow, Russia on the 17th of January 1863, he was born Constantin Sergeyevich Alekseyev, and was part of the richest family in Russia, in 1884 Constantin adopted the stage name of Constantin Stanislavski this was only to keep his performance work hidden from his parents as the prospects of performing and becoming a performer at that time period was a taboo subject for someone of his families social class, Portrait of Stanislavski by Valentin Serov. as performers in Russia had a Slave like social class, this was even less of a social class than the rest of Europe. In 1877 Stanislavskis father Sergei Vladimirovich Alekseyev had a fully equipped theatre built on his estate only for family entertainment. Stanislavski started his theatre career as an actor, but not just an actor, he wanted to experiment with different ways of acting a part, it was known for Stanislavski to disguise himself as a tramp or drunk and roam the streets as those characters providing the necessary characterisation. In 1884 Stanislavski began vocal training by Fyodor Petrovich Komissarzhevsky, who was a professor at the Moscow Conservatory and a leading tenor of the Bolshoi. Stanislavski and Komissarzhevsky together devised various exercises in moving and sitting stationary, Stanislavski later used this rhythmic physical exercise when teaching his system to opera singers. In 1889 in the societys production of Aleksey Pisemskys play Men Above The Law Stanislavski invented his Principle of Opposites this was expressed as advice to an actor When you play a
good man, try to find out where he is bad, and when you play a villain, try to find out where he is good. (Stanislavski, 1889) Stanislavski insisted that his

actors learnt their parts thoroughly, this entirely removed the prompt from the societys productions. In 1891 Stanislavski directed his first fully independent production, this was Leo
Tolstoys, The Fruits of Enlightenment. ~ 10 ~
All content is copyright www.ryanshore.co.uk

Guide to the business: Musical Theatre

By Ryan Shore

In 1897 Stanislavski and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko created the idea of opening the Moscow Public-Accessible Theatre which was later known as the Moscow Art Theatre. Their discussion lasted for 18 hours, this was from lunch at 2PM in a private suite in the Slavic Bazaar restaurant to 8AM the following morning over breakfast at Stanislavskis family estate at Liubimovka, which has acquired a legendary status in the history of theatre. As we can see Stanislavski worked as an actor for many years then switched to directing, but his directing work was to become very much overshadowed by his systematic approach to acting, this was to become the Stanislavski System. In 1909 Stanislavski started to create the first draft of his system, it was later founded in 1911. Stanislavskis System includes The Magic If, Given Circumstances, Sense Memory, Motivation and Objectives. This is what people now know as Stanislavski, His acting and directing careers completely over shadowed by one of his greatest achievements, Stanislavski the first Acting Practitioner.

Constantin Stanislavski 1863-1938

(All Dates are from Wikipedia.org) ~ 11 ~


All content is copyright www.ryanshore.co.uk

Guide to the business: Musical Theatre

By Ryan Shore

P.A. Organisations - Equity

quity is the only UK based Trade Union or Community for Professionals in the performing industry. Equity was formed in 1930 by a group of West End (London) performers.

Equity provides a wide range of services and benefits for their members, these can include advice, representation and legal support, but most importantly they have worked for many years making sure their members are working in good conditions with the adequate pay for the job in hand. As well as their services to individual members they also act on wider issues that affect all people in the performing arts industry, such as their campaign to stop government cuts against the Arts, on June 15th 2011 Equity grouped up with other trade unions to create a campaign called Lost Arts, this was set up to demonstrate the effects of the government cuts. Money lost to the Arts since 30th March 2011 has been 20,534,720*(Figures from the Lost Arts website) over the next three years they plan to catalogue all off the organisations and projects that will be lost due to the current cuts, through this project they are fighting to change the way the government is cutting funds. This of course is only one of the many current campaigns that Equity is involved in to make the Arts industry better and safer for the industrys many professionals. Equitys many individual member services are as follows:
Good Pay and conditions Equity has been constructive in helping to bring wages up to date. They provide an 'Equity contract' for their members. There is also the option to have advice from them if your contract is not an Equity contract. Many years ago there was not a trade union or representing body to help the performing industry, this resulted in low wages and poor conditions. A professional name just for you They hold a register of trade/stage/performing names, but there can only be one person using that name on their register, this makes sure that you gain the recognition that you deserve. It also makes sure that you get the royalties that are due to you. ~ 12 ~
All content is copyright www.ryanshore.co.uk

Guide to the business: Musical Theatre

By Ryan Shore

PLI (Public Liability Insurance) A good part to their members benefits is the public liability insurance, they will provide you 10 million of cover free of charge. If you have a dangerous act that works with higher risks for example an act that includes fire they will still provide you cover but it costs an extra 31.50 a year Equitys Legal Support If you have any legal problems or disputes with your contract, professional engagements or if you get injured, Equity provides legal support for you. They will pay legal fees for the case to go to court and the performer keeps all of the money awarded at court. They have a 24 hour phone line which is free to call for personal injury. Other Equity services are: Help and Advice, Accident cover, Tax Support, Representation, Your own Equity Card, Personal Pension Plan, Dance Passport, Agents Info Service, Equity Credit Card, Discounts, Union Energy, Medical Support, Your Network, Careers Advice, Training, Publications, Jobs Information Service, A bully Help and Report line, Health and Safety.

As you can see Equity do provide many services, but who do they actually benefit? Well, where to start. In the performance section of the theatre there are a lot of different job roles, some of the main ones that people normally associate with performance are the Actors, Singers and Dancers, but they are not the only performance job roles, you have the more adventurous performers like Circus Artists or Ice Skaters, but who do Equity actually let join, you say? Well here is a list of all of the performer styles that Equity signs up.
Performers Actors, Walk-on Actors, Backing Singers, Ensemble Members, Singers, Opera Singers, Dancers, Circus Artists, Ice Skaters, Childrens Entertainers, Comedians, Puppeteers, Models, TV Presenters, Radio Presenters, Street Performers, Support Artists, Musicians. *

Who else does Equity sign up, other than performers?


Technical and Production in Theatre Stage Managers, Ast. Stage Managers, Theatre Designers, Theatre Directors, Ast. Theatre Directors, Theatre Lighting Technician, Theatre Lighting Designer, Choreographers, Ast. Choreographers, Musical Directors, Ast. Musical Directors.* ~ 13 ~
All content is copyright www.ryanshore.co.uk

Guide to the business: Musical Theatre

By Ryan Shore

Well Equity does sign up many different professionals in the Performing Arts Industry but who does Equity actually work with, are there other Trade Unions? Of course there is, and Equity work with all of them, Equity is also linked with many other organisations in the Performing Arts Industry and other different departments of the UK system. Here is a quick list of some of organisations that Equity works with.
Amnesty The Human Rights Organisation. * BAPAM - British Association for Performing Arts Medicine. * British Copyright Council The national Council for Copyrights. * BECS The British Equity Collecting Society. * BPI The British Music Industry. * CDET The Council for Dance Education and Training. * CC Skills Creative and Cultural Skills. * Dance UK Promotes the importance of dance and the needs of dancers. * NCDT National Council of Drama Training.* And there are many many more

Has Equity affected the Performing Arts Industry? Yes, in fact, if it wasnt for Equity the PA Industry would be totally different, when Equity was first set up, Performers would have to work in bad conditions with the minimal amount of pay, and now Performers get paid the right amount and they now work in good conditions. Performing is now a very big part of our culture where in the 1930s when Equity was established it wasnt, so as you can see Equity has changed the Performing Arts Industry forever, but their work doesnt stop just because performers are paid well and performing is a big part of culture, they are fighting battles to keep performing a part of culture right now.
References All content marked with a * is from www.equity.org.uk The Lost Arts Web Site www.lost-arts.org

~ 14 ~
All content is copyright www.ryanshore.co.uk

Guide to the business: Musical Theatre

By Ryan Shore

If all else fails

o as you can see being a musical theatre performer doesnt generally happen overnight , it takes a lot of hard work and time . It also isnt just about your ability to sing or act or dance. You need a good ability in all three disciplines , be good to work with and I think most of all you need dedication it is a hard industry with many pitfalls and disappointments, but if you are determined and have ability this may be the career choice for you. What happens if you dont make it? This is a daunting factor of performing If all else fails what can I do? Well there is one simple answer, look at what skills you have, like an actor can act, a director needs to be able to act to direct the actors. Most singers are able to play the piano so why not either join a band or go on to other education options to learn how to teach people how to sing. You can already begin to make a list of stuff you can do, so why not put these to a use, and who knows you could make quite a living from it. But of course always think that there is something else that you can be good at, and NEVER give up!

~ 15 ~
All content is copyright www.ryanshore.co.uk

Guide to the business: Musical Theatre

By Ryan Shore

End Notes
Useful Links
National Council for Drama training www.ncdt.co.uk The Conference of Drama Schools www.drama.ac.uk Council for Dance Education and Training www.cdet.org.uk An Online Performing Arts Course Finder www.ukperformingarts.co.uk The Lost Arts Website www.lost-arts.org All dates in the Stanislavski section are from www.wikipedia.org The authors website www.ryanshore.co.uk

A quick conclusion
And there you have it, a quick guide of how to become a Musical Theatre performer, I hope that I was able to help you on your way into your new chosen career, and I will now leave you with some useful links. Thanks for reading

~ 16 ~
All content is copyright www.ryanshore.co.uk