Where am I going to?

For those who fancy a career in performing arts, choosing the next steps to take can be incredibly difficult. Choosing a pathway that is right for you and will get you to where you want to be is absolutely crucial, no matter what field you want to explore.

People make their way into the musical theatre industry in different ways. Some go down the stage school route, some are lucky and just walk straight into a job, and some are scouted by agents or directors, but no matter how they break into the performing arts world, it takes a lot of HARD WORK. To make it in the industry, you have to be prepared to work your socks off for as long as you need to, and do whatever it takes to get you where you want to be.

Some people have no idea where to start at all, so here at EverythingStagey, we’ve decided to lend a hand and give a bit of advice to those struggling to find a way.

There are many stage schools on offer all over the country, some are local and some are miles away from home. No matter what school you go to, you’ll be singing , dancing and expanding your acting skills all day long, so making sure you’re picking somewhere that suits you is the most import thing! Some people don’t want to travel so far away from home, so the more local facilities will benefit them.

It would be impossible for me to include every single school on offer, so here is just a small handful of colleges available for budding performers.

Northern Ballet School- Manchester

As you may have guessed, the Northern Ballet School is a dance based school, but it offers a variety of dance genres rather than just ballet. Students who graduate leave with the Northern Ballet School Diploma in Professional Dance.


LIPA (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts)- Liverpool

LIPA is a great place ‘for people who want to persue a lasting career in the arts and entertainment industry.’ They offer full-time three year BA (Honours) Degree programmes in lots of aspects including acting, dance, music and sound technology. They also offer one year foundation courses and weekly acting classes for 4- 19 year olds, see their website for more information.


Phil Winston’s Theatre Works- Blackpool 

Phil Winston’s is a dance and musical theatre based college. They offer one year foundation courses as well as a full-time three year course. Graduates receive their Theatreworks Diamond & Diploma. There is a lot of emphasis on getting their students into the working world and into the dance or musical theatre industries.



Northern School of Contemporary Dance- Leeds

This is a vocational dance training school that offers a variety of courses. There is a one year foundation course available as well as both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. There are also part-time courses available as well.


SLP (Studio Le Pointe)- Leeds

SLP college is centred around dance and musical theatre and offers brilliant facilities. The college offers full-time three year diploma courses in both musical theatre and dance. There is also a one year foundation course available and a one year postgraduate course on offer.



Arts Ed- London

The president of Arts Ed is none other than Lord Lloyd Webber himself! They offer musical theatre and acting courses as well as weekend courses, evening courses and holiday courses.


Mountview- London

Mountview offer intensive, practical training with all students receiving over thirty hours of teaching each week. They offer both undergraduate and post graduate courses in a variety of aspects including musical theatre and theatre directing.


Laine- Surrey

Laine Theatre Arts aims to provide its students with the broadest spectrum of musical theatre and dance training available. They offer professional training, children’s trading and adult classes too! You can choose to study a level 6 diploma course, a foundation diploma course or a BA (Hons) musical theatre course.


GSA (Guildford School of Acting)- Surrey

Despite its name, GSA is not just centred around acting. They provide courses in different aspects of the musical theatre world. They offer undergraduate BA (Hons) courses in areas such as acting and musical theatre, as well as postgraduate courses such as contemporary theatre making. They also offer part time or foundation courses.


Tring Park- Hertfordshire 

Tring Park is open for students aged 8 all the way to 19. For junior, middle and senior school, the day is split between vocational training and academic studies. For the vocational training there is a variety of courses, see the website for more details!



Amanda Holden- Mountview

Connor Fisher- Mountview

Verity Rushworth- SLP College

Julie Andrews- Arts Ed

Samantha Barks- Arts Ed

Oliver Tomsett- Arts Ed

Ruthie Henshall- Laine

Kerry Ellis- Laine

Bill Nighy- Guildford School of Acting

Ella Henderson- Tring Park


The show must go on!

Understudies are often overlooked in the performing world, but they play a fundamental role and not many productions would be able to function without them. Other important parts in shows, other than the leads, are the swings. The swing parts have to learn everyone’s places in every dance as well as what each person sings and where they move on the stage. The swing members have one of the hardest jobs in the business, and many refer to their well kept ‘swing bible’ before they need to go on to make sure they’re 100% clued up on where they need to be. 

The majority of the leading ladies and men on the West End and Broadway started out as understudies, so being cast as one can be the stepping stone someone needs to get into the leading lady’s shoes.

Luke Harley – currently studying at Arts Ed in London – gave me his insight into the topic of understudies and swings. He told me “swings and understudies are incredibly vital for performances.” To be a swing, you have to have a massive amount of brain power so that you can learn every part you need to and remember exactly what everyone does. Being a swing means that you may end up learning up to 10 different tracks for a performance, and having to know where everyone stands, each individual’s choreography and harmonies, as well as all their libretto. Using Luke’s words, “it’s an incredibly exciting job” He continued  “If you were in Les Mis, you could be playing Grantaire in the matinee and Courfeyrac in the evening performance.” 

Understudies and swings never know what’s going to happen, so they need to be ready for anything and everything.

I also managed to get an insight into the topic from Megan Louch, who is currently performing as an onstage swing in the UK tour of Annie. She said to me, “Both understudies and swings are massively important, they have to have a really good brain. You could be learning 6 tracks that all have different choreography, harmonies and partner work.” Clearly it’s not always just  about remembering the dancing, singing and acting as an understudy/swing. Megan also said “you have to learn their costume changes, onstage traffic and backstage traffic.” 

Taking on a swing or understudy role is a big responsibility, because if someone can’t make it, it all comes down to you. You have to be very aware, responsible, switched on and ready for anything. She told me, “It’s a very demanding job, so people are going to get overtired or injured etc.” The job of a swing is often made even harder when they are pushed onto the stage, regardless of whether they feel well or not. They are the most relied on in the show, so if they’re not feeling 100%, it doesn’t matter, the show must go on. 

She went on to say, “it’s a very rewarding and varied job.”           People don’t realise how valuable it is to have the experience of a being a swing under your belt, it takes so much work to pull it off successfully and be able to remember every single thing that happens on stage. Megan’s aspiration is to be a dance captain and she believes that a swing is a good step towards that, as a dance captain is responsible for knowing everything that happens in the show. 

Being an understudy in the professional world is totally different, as some shows hold performances where the understudies play the leading roles, however being a swing doesn’t change. But both of these parts are mighty important, as you never know what’s going to happen on that stage or if you’re going to get called in. So don’t be disheartened if you get cast as a swing or understudy when you were desperate for a lead, you’re probably doing a more important role than you think.

“I will love you until the end of time…”

The most important people in a performers career are not the directors and choreographers, or even their agent, they’re the people that support them and stand by them no matter what. They continue to root for them even when an audition has gone dreadfully wrong or a job opportunity passes them by. Family and friends who never stop believing or encouraging you to follow your dreams are the most valuable people you’ll ever need in your life.
Sometimes, it’s not your biological family that provide the foundations of support for you, it may even be your ‘theatre family’! You soon learn that the people you meet doing this as a hobby 4/5 times a week become so important to you that you can’t live without them. I, for one, know that my stagey friends are the best friends I’ve ever met- they support me regardless of what happens and they’re always there to pick me up when I have a bad performance or miss out on a part I want. The same goes for them though, we always cheer each other up when one of us is feeling down or disheartened and this just goes to show how strong our bond of friendship is. 
No matter what happens in our performing careers, we’ll always stick by eachother and support one another through it all. I love my theatre family so much and don’t know what I’d do without them! 

I get by with a little help from my friends!

There’s no place like home!

A lot of people reckon that the only musical theatre worth seeing is that shown on the West End or Broadway. Well, they couldn’t be more wrong!! With the amateur music groups growing in numbers every day, amazing musical theatre may be closer than you think.

Youth theatre is right on the doorsteps of a lot of people, but it often goes unnoticed. Incredible shows are being performed by amateur groups of both youngsters and adults, many to the standard of the West End. The ‘School Editions’ of many musicals allow local groups to perform the most amazing shows, such as Les Mis and The Phantom Of The Opera, whilst giving the same standard performances you’d see in London. Local theatre and talent is often forgotten about or sometimes ignored, but people don’t realise what they’re missing out on! It provides brilliant opportunities for young people and helps open doors into new careers that they may never have considered. Local theatre could be considered one of the most fabulous things around, after all, what could be better than being able to see a marvellous, West End standard production, without needing to travel miles away from home?!

Performing in an amateur youth group also helps children by providing them with a hobby, that equips them with many skills for life. Joining and performing with a youth group often gives young people confidence and teaches them to believe in themselves and aim for the stars. It also helps young performers to become more understanding of the diversity in our society, as musical theatre can be a safe haven for all walks of life. But working with different people is what creates such a sense of unity amongst these groups and forges such a family-like relationship. Friendships made within these groups often become friendships that last for life and, as a performer in a youth group myself, I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t joined my local group and made the friends I have. 

Head over to these websites for amazing local musical theatre around: 






Breaking into the music industry…

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Everyone, regardless of age, dreams of being a world famous recording artist or a musical theatre superstar. For some people, just belting out songs in the shower is enough for them, but for others, they’re determined to do everything they can to turn this dream into a real thing.

I managed to catch up with TheOfficialBradRyan to talk about his motives for starting his YouTube channel, as well as a few members from the London cast of The Book of Mormon to get some insight into their musical theatre experiences.

EverythingStagey meets TheOfficialBradRyan


What made you start your YouTube channel?

“I’d wanted to start YouTube channel since I was like 14. After watching different people doing their own versions of great songs, I finally made the decision that this was what I wanted to do. It pushed me to pursue a career in music.”

What aspects of the music industry appealed to you the most?        

“Regardless of what people would probably assume, it wasn’t really the fame and fortune that appealed to me the most, but simply the fact that singing was something I have been told I’m pretty good at and most of all enjoy doing. Just the idea of people listening to and enjoying my covers is what gives me the motivation to keep working hard to get myself out there.”

What do you ultimately want to do with your music?                                            

“In the long run I’d love to just have people enjoying what I do. The thought of thousands of people all paying to come and watch me sing for a few hours is pretty daunting, but I’d love to have that ‘is this even happening?!’ feeling one day, that’s what I’m striving for.”

What advice would you give to people wanting to start out in the music industry?

“Just go for it, what’s the worst that could happen?! It may not work out first time around, but what really goes to plan straight away? If you persist and work hard towards what you want to do than, then no one should be able to stop you from living your dream!”

EverythingStagey meets The Book Of Mormon


Performers often know that being on a stage 24/7 is exactly what they want to do and many work tirelessly to make that happen. Musical theatre appeals to many people in different ways, and I managed to get some feedback from a few cast members from BoM about why musical theatre appealed to them.

What appealed to you about music theatre?

David O’Reilly- Stand-by Elder Cunningham: ‘It’s my safe place and was a hobby I really enjoyed!’

Ashley Samuels- Ensemble: ‘Truth be told, it was the only thing I was good at! I started from a very young age and if I’m honest, I think people inspire you. If you have really good drama teachers, they help you to express yourself as a child and open your eyes to the amazing experiences out there. It’s also amazing to have your family supporting you, whether you’re singing Spice Girls songs in the living room or performing on this stage they’re still rooting for you. They never stopping believing in you.’

 Dan Looney- Ensemble: ‘The buzz and the atmosphere is great! And also, my ego gets fed!!’

What advice would you give to young performers wanting to get into the industry?

David O’Reilly: ‘Technique, technique, technique, technique, risks, technique, technique, courage, technique!!’

Everyone has their inspirations and motivators to make it in the industry, but you need to believe in yourself if you want others to believe in you! Be your biggest advocate and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.

And there’s no limit to what we can do. Me and you, but mostly….. me!!!

Check out TheOfficialBradRyan on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Theofficialbradryan/1540415129548785?fref=ts 

Check out TheOfficialBradRyan on Youtube: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCXQ5pbjcjXGPnPl9aGP2EWQ

Head over to The Book Of Mormon website: http://www.bookofmormonlondon.com/tickets