West End star helps students hit the high notes

5th April 2022

Musical Theatre students from Stratford-upon-Avon College recently received a masterclass in acting through song from former student and West End performer, Charlotte Kennedy.

Both the first and second year of the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Musical Theatre were excited to take part. Students had picked songs from a range of musicals such as Mamma Mia, We Will Rock You, Parade, Waitress as well as a host of others. Charlotte got them to focus on relaxation and confidence techniques and connecting to the story of the song through a range of physical exercises, with often instantaneous results.

Charlotte studied on the Musical Theatre course from 2010 to 2012 and has fond memories of her time at the College. She commented: “It was my first real experience of musical theatre. College is really where my passion began. Movies Rock and my final show, Cabaret, were particular highlights. But I just had a wonderful time and was well supported. The staff just want what is best for you and you can still really see that now I have come back. I still use the songs I learnt in College at auditions!”

Charlotte now works as a professional actress and remembers shows like Movies Rock pictured above with great fondness

Charlotte had so much to share with the students and boasts a wealth of experience professionally. After studying at Mountview Drama School, she joined the West End cast of Les Miserable as part of the ensemble before taking the leading role of Cosette. As well as performing, she enjoys teaching so enjoyed coming back to the College to help future performers: “I hope that it gives them the confidence in their ability. Once they let go of their insecurities the difference is amazing.”

charlotte les mis
Charlotte starred as Cosette in the hit musical Les Miserable on the West End

The students got a lot out of the experience. Jack Dickson, 17, commented: “It was really good. It allowed us to learn current techniques in a hands-on practical way and learning how to connect to the text was very helpful!” Peter Robley Dixon, 17, added: “It really instilled the importance of acting through the text. And to get advice from someone currently in the industry was so beneficial.”

Charlotte took the students through a range of exercises to improve skill and confidence

Musical Theatre lecturer, Alex Dengate, notes how vital professional masterclasses are for the students: “Masterclasses with people like Charlotte who are from industry are so important for students to experience whilst they are training. They get to practice their skills in front of top professionals, whilst receiving precise feedback, tips and tricks of the trade all to help develop them ready for their future careers as performers.”

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