Trinity College London’s examiners travel the world to examine over 5000 students each year in music, drama, speech arts and musical theatre.
Campbell River students have been taking musical theatre exams with Trinity for the past five years, consistently scoring high each year. The exam is basically a one man show. Each grade specifies what the elements of that show will be and the length, timed within a variable of one minute. These exam programs have a theme that runs through the ‘show’ and ties the different elements together. Students are required to present a dance piece, contrasting vocal pieces and monologues in their program.
The last segment with the examiner is a debrief about the program. Students do extensive research and must be able to present the history and have a complete understanding of each show or work of theatre that has been sung, danced, or spoken.
Before students go into exam week, mock exams are held with their teachers refining and timing every bit of their show, from the main elements to the introductions and ‘links’ and even costume changes to make sure that the student never breaks character or momentum in their ‘show’ and keep to the strict time requirements for the exams. Each grade adds new layers of both elements and time to the exam.
As students reach the advanced level, ‘shows’ become longer and more elements are required. Last year Beth Miller was awarded an ‘Exhibition’ award for the highest grade given by Trinity College London in all of North America and the Pacific Rim in her advanced Musical Theatre exam.
“This is an amazing opportunity to extend the confidence, that performing brings to young people. It’s one thing to be on a stage with a group for a show… that is fantastic for kids, but being the only one on stage and carrying a whole show takes dedicated preparation, focus and confidence,” say RainCoast teacher Heather Gordon Murphy. Her thoughts are shared by fellow teachers Kristy Miller, Amy Lelliott and Kristine Isfeld.
Recently, students used their exam material to put together a benefit show for the Campbell River Food Bank at River City Stage.
“We feel very strongly that part of training students in performing is giving them the opportunity to perform as often as possible and in ways that benefit the community we live in.”
RainCoast students will be performing Canada Day at Spirit Square with selections from their recent show, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.