Unexpected twist for former student

24th February 2023

A former Musical Theatre student from Stratford-upon-Avon College has been cast in a retelling of the Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist.

Alex Hardie, who studied Musical Theatre at the College from 2014-2016, has been cast as an actor and beatboxer in the production of ‘Unexpected Twist’ by Royal Derngate, Northampton and the Children’s Theatre Partnership which will tour the UK.

Credit Manuel Harlan
Alex Hardie in an Unexpected Twist. Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

This is a full circle moment for Alex who realised his passion for the arts when he performed in his school’s production of Oliver.

He decided to pursue this passion when it came time to choose where to go after finishing school. After a recommendation from his dance teacher, he chose the College: “It had a great reputation for Musical Theatre!”

His college experience was great: “I got so many chances to develop my skills. I really enjoyed the singing as I had never done it properly before with a Musical Director. It was also great to be dancing everyday!”

alex in oklahmoa
A performance of Oklahoma at College

After college, Alex studied for a foundation degree and then undergraduate degree at Urdang; a specialist Dance and Musical Theatre school.

Alex graduated in 2020 but went straight into a lockdown. Though an extremely tough time to start your career in the arts, Alex used this time to develop a skill that would shape his current career: beatboxing.

He has used this unique talent to progress his career; working on a range of shows as a beatboxer, as well as performing with groups such as Beatbox Academy, Get Gospel and The Gold Vocal Collective.

Alex is enjoying his work beatboxing

Alex is so excited to be working on Unexpected Twist. It is a re-telling of the Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist written by Michael Rosen and adapted for the stage by BAFTA award-winning playwright Roy Williams with original music by rising R&B star Yaya Bey and BAC Beatboxing Academy’s Conrad Murray.

Alex is relishing working on such a production: “The story is fantastic and the fact that the beatboxing is so integral to the show and we get to take it to so many venues is exciting. There are a whole host of musical genres involved too; hip hop, grime, R&B and even folk all in one show!”

Unexpected Twist in rehearsal. Photo credit: Manual Harlan

His advice for students who want to be in the industry: “Don’t worry about doing something that no-one else is doing. If you’re the only one who wants to learn to beatbox or tap dance just do it! You have nothing to lose but everything to gain. I’m a big advocate for shoot your shot no matter what it is!

Congratulations Alex!

Find out more about the College’s Performing & Production Arts courses: SUAC Onstage