Course Guide - The Fast Track Programme:
QUALIFICATION: 2 Year Diploma in Musical Theatre (Stage & Screen)
Our diploma meets the criteria for the BA (Hons) Performance (Level 6 Top-Up) run by PPA (which has government funding attached)
DURATION: 4 x 10 weeks term/year
3 weeks of technical studies:
Per week: 17.5 hrs of dance, 6 hrs of acting, 4 hrs of voice, 10.5 hrs of musical theatre
1 week of specialist study
2 weeks of technical studies: As above
4 weeks of rehearsal: Uniquely ending each term with a Public Performance
NB: Please note all stage shows are performed at established off-West End venues and industry professionals are invited to all.
Full Course Guide
Dance at The MTA
Focus is on developing your understanding of technique and consolidating any previous training whilst furthering your skill base in all dance styles.
Our students continue to develop their skills across the full range of dance styles, and the performance techniques needed to convey these. Working towards extending your versatility as a performer and developing an individual style and performance level.
Continual assessments are made throughout the course to monitor progress.
At The MTA we aim to develop our student’s competence and confidence in all styles of dance covered, a big emphasis will be based on how to perform with character, musicality and style; to work with a variety of professional choreographers and to be in command of a repertoire of varying dance styles. There will also be an emphasis on an understanding of the human body so that our students learn to express their emotions through dance and are aware of their nutritional needs and how to avoid injury.
Our dance staff are chosen carefully for their expertise, professional and artistic reputations and their understanding of the industry and its demands for performers today.
- Technical Jazz – to develop flexibility and strength in order that our students can perform with energy, speed, stamina, co-ordination and control. Students will develop the ability to learn routines and retain corrections.
- Matt Mattox Jazz – based on Matt Mattox’s isolation technique. This technique builds dexterity, strength and stamina through a series of body control exercises.
- Classical Ballet – the foundation for all the other dance disciplines and aims to develop our student’s understanding of placement, alignment, coordination, strength, mobility and grace.
- Pas De Deux – enabling our students to perform with care, consideration and coordination when working with a partner. They will develop an ability to respond to the energy and timing of their partner in a variety of musical styles.
- Tap – building up a vocabulary of steps, learn a repertoire of combinations, develop competence in differing tap styles and perform with versatility and a sense of dynamics.
- Commercial Jazz – focussing on commercial dance for musical theatre, pop videos, fashion and trade shows. In this, our students will learn a variety of commercial jazz styles.
- Contemporary dance – taught using body mechanics, technique and conditioning to enable the student to dance with control, energy and dynamics. We use both Cunningham technique as well as free exercises.
- Musical Theatre – learning repertoire from all genres of musical theatre.
- Body Conditioning – focussing on training for improved fitness, flexibility and strength.
Acting at The MTA
Our Mission: For every student to become a truthful, generous and compelling actor, both on stage and screen
Commedia Del Arte, Theatre of the Absurd, Improvisation, Contemporary American and British scene study, World drama, Physical Theatre, Stanislavsky, Audition Preparation, Classical and Contemporary Monologue study, Musical Scene study, and an entire term of Shakespeare
Our screen-work will include work-shopping TV and film scripts, learning film terminology, and the workings of a film set.
The first public performance in your very first term is a full scale production of a straight play. The plays are specifically chosen to stretch and inspire the students, and the knowledge and skills they acquire on this first production, will then be built on throughout their time with us.
Continuing on the work of Year One plus:
Each student will make a show-reel, shot and edited by professionals, they will write or direct their own piece for performance, they will also make a short film shot on location, directed by a professional film director.
Specialist workshops will look at the essentials for the working actor including self tape auditions, commercial casting, MoCap and presenting to camera
Regular Q&As. Past guests include Mike Leigh, Jonathan Harvey, Imelda Staunton, Dexter Fletcher, Alison Steadman, David Eldridge.
We cater for each individual’s needs, giving extra help when necessary, making sure no-one slips through the net. Monologues are individually chosen for each student, with every student having one-to one sessions. At the end of the 2 years, we produce a streamed industry showcase.
It is important to us to produce actors as confident, versatile, and skilled as those leaving a straight drama school. We expect our actors to be employed as straight actors, as well as musical theatre performers, which our ambassadors have proved time and time again.
Musical Theatre at The MTA
- Individual Technical Singing Class
Every student has a 30 mins individual singing lesson each week during technical study weeks. All students are encouraged and supported to find both a legit voice, and a traditional MT Belt Voice (where safe to do so).
- Performance Seminars
Technique is important (and vital for vocal safety) but it is your performance technique that will actually secure you work. Acting through the song, finding out what works for you will be a vital tool in securing you that first job.
- Masterclasses & Q&As
Past masterclass guests include: Jenna Russell, Rachel Tucker, Michael Xavier, Rosalie Craig, Hadley Fraser, Mike Jibson, Kerrigan & Lowdermilk, Jonathan Reid Gealt, Cynthia Erivo. Past Q&A guests include: Stephanie J Block, Jonathan Groff, Clive Rowe, Jeremy Jordan, Laura Osnes.
- Choral Rehearsal Practise
Weekly ensemble singing classes.
- History of Musical Theatre
At The MTA the history of Musical Theatre is studied as an integral part of the course. Unlike most MT courses we teach ‘pop/rock’ as a separate and dedicated class throughout the course, to ensure that you understand all the demands of a modern MT performer.
All students will be given a basic grounding in music notation.
- Audition Technique
From the very first week of your training we will be working on your audition technique. You then get the opportunity to put your work into practice every term when you get to audition for our public performances
Voice at The MTA
The goal over our two years is to be equipped with an ‘active’ understanding of your spoken voice. You will develop your ability to observe the relationship between your body, voice, emotion and performance and undergo a curriculum of work that will reflect the range of vocal technique within the industry.
Focusses on our self-awareness by unpicking what is known as a vocal progression. RABRAT: Release, Alignment, Breath, Resonance, Articulation, Text.
Release/Alignment – We work on release as a means to strip away habits and tensions that may have a negative impact on the voice. We will draw on release to build spinal alignment for fluidity in movement and efficiency in breathing. Freeing up tension and understanding spinal alignment will serve to develop our ability to be neutral in our body.
Breath – Exploring breath’s crucial connection to vocal power through investigating various techniques that open the breath up to the body and its contribution to release work and achieving a sense of being centred. This is aided through building an understanding of vocal health and a knowledge of the anatomy of the respiratory system and vocal tract.
Resonance and articulation – Looking at the tone, colour, quality, and muscularity of your speech. As a means to explore sound and language we will be looking at IPA (International phonetic alphabet) as a tool for further grounding in RP (Received Pronunciation) and the application of IPA and RP as a basis for other accent and dialect work.
Text – All the work involved in the vocal progression integrates into the act of speaking. We explore a range of texts as a way to explore language.
Working to solidify a strong independent process and targeting key areas for development. We continue our work of linking the body and breath within the vocal progression by looking further into the work on character work and emotional impulse.
A major project of the year is that of Idiolect, investigating and employing the nuances and vocal pattern of a specific person.
Building on the skills that the idiolect project gives, another major project of the year is looking at American and British Isles accents and learning the skill of creating an accent breakdown.
The final project of the year is developing the routine of personal practice and the art of physical and mental discipline in preparation for performance.
The work will always serve the current needs of the students and aim to support each term’s shows and actively address the questions that the two years at the MTA will present.
This work in this department draws upon the influence of many great voice coaches past and present, many different technique and approaches, allowing the students to discover what works for them as well as being exposed to a breadth of approaches focusing particularly on preparation for their personal practice and maintenance as a professional.
Specialist Skills week at The MTA
In week 4 of every term regular technical classes stop and you will spend a week exploring a specialist skill with a visiting expert.
Skills week to be chosen from the following list, depending on the student group:
- Commedia Del Arte/Clowning
- New Musical Development Week in partnership with Perfect Pitch Developments
- Stage Combat – leading to your Basic Stage Combat Certificate
- Film Week – writing and shooting a short film
- Voice Over Week – a module designated to the art of voice for radio work specifically designed to give each student a professional vocal profile and the tools to produce a voice reel should this be an area that they wish to pursue after graduating.
- West End Workshop Dance week – 10 shows in 5 days
- Cabaret – looking at the craft of cabaret
NB all facets of the course will be constantly evolving to ensure that our students are always taught the most up to date and relevant information for today’s industry.
Term 1: A Play
Featuring your year group
Term 2: Something Old, Something New – The MTA Musical Theatre Revue
You will be supporting the graduating year
Term 3: A Musical
You will be supporting the graduating year
Term 4: An Original Filmed Musical, commissioned by the college
Featuring your year group
Term 5: A Pantomime
Featuring your year group
Term 6: Something Old, Something New – The MTA Musical Theatre Revue
The Revue will be devised around your year group, with your 1st years supporting you
Term 7: A Musical
This will be cast wherever possible, around the graduating year group who are still seeking representation, with the 1st years, and the ‘signed’ 2nd years supporting them
A Short Film
Written by our students, filmed on location, working with a professional director
Term 8: Online Agent Showcase
An online showcase, enabling us to show off our students stage and screen work simultaneously, and ensuring ease of access for agents and casting directors who can watch in real time or have a recording sent through to them
We are the only HE college in the UK to operate a clinician led whole school approach to mental health.
Awards & Nominations:
The MTA is widely recognised as the industry leader in its approach to pastoral care and mental health. The citation for winning The Stage “School of the Year” award in 2017 for an unprecedented 2nd time noted our commitment to raising mental health awareness throughout the entire industry, not just within the training sector. In addition to this we were also shortlisted as the “Training Institute of the Year” in the Industry Minds Award in 2019
There are two members of staff on call 24/7/365. One of the people on call will be a mental health clinician. Everybody involved in the college has a direct access number to our college counsellor (who is a mental health clinician). This is a confidential service. If it’s discovered that a student is unwell, then they will be supported and advised to seek out the correct help for themselves, and where necessary the counsellor will liaise with local GPs to ensure a smooth passage to the correct treatment. In extreme cases we will also work with families to ensure a swift recovery. We do not limit the number of counselling sessions needed. These resources are also available to our graduates at no cost.
#time4change Mental Health Charter:
In 2016 we initiated the #time4change campaign to educate, remove the stigma surrounding mental health and to start the conversation of change. Nearly 130 organisations have now signed up.
We have a physio and a nutritionist attached to the college. Students pay a discounted rate for consultations.
College For Life
The MTA is the only college to run a “College For Life” policy.
We believe that in our industry our students are most likely to need our help once they’re out in the ‘real world’. The challenges of a performer’s life are complex, and we believe that we have a responsibility to help them to navigate these often choppy waters.
Our graduates have access to:
- Free dance classes
Free rehearsal space
Ongoing pastoral care and mental health support
Ongoing audition advice and assistance
Observing masterclasses & Q&As
Information about jobs & work opportunities
Our students are often invited to take part in professional concerts, gigs, etc. Some of the highlights have been
- Performing at the London Palladium
- The Ensemble for the West End concert performances of Grease 2 and Tommy
- Performing in the West End galas for both MMD and Perfect Pitch.
- Singing at both of Julie Atherton’s album launches.
- Backing vocals for performers such as Shoshana Bean, Stephanie J Block, Patina Miller, Eden Espinosa (to name just a few) all in the West End.
- Appearing regularly on Channel 4’s The Last Leg.
- Recording the concept album for the Craig Adams musical Lift.
The MTA will only ever take a maximum of 22 students per year