At this point, I would usually be saying where has this past year gone? But to be quite honest, I’m quite glad to see the back of 2020! Don’t get me wrong, as tough as this past year has been for us all (for many different reasons), I hope we have all managed to draw out many positives too..
Firstly, I would once again like to thank you for your support over the last year. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful team, both students, teachers and parents, without you, things would have taken a very different turn.
It is so important to pull together during times like these and I believe, The Attic exceeds itself in Team Work which is why I am forever grateful for the last 10 months.
It is important to thank each and everyone of you for doing your bit. Josh, I am so grateful for all of your hard work. You have become an even bigger part of the ever expanding Attic (a bit like my waistline at the mo!) and despite having other huge projects on the go, you have continued to deliver and produce high quality sessions across the board. Whether that be through Musical Theatre, Group Singing or 1-2-1 Singing, so I just wanted to say a big Thank you!
Abigayle joined us in September and I have to say, if you haven’t met Abigayle, she is great! Abigayle specialises in Acting through song as she is an Actor who sings so is a great asset to our MT classes. So, a big thank you to you ‘Abi’ who was not only patient with her starting date (we have been trying to get Abi in since the Spring), but for making a difference to The Attic. Thanks Abi.
All of our Acting Students worked with Tom over the Autumn term (you may have seen him strutting around in some heels going by the name of Kylie). Tom was just finishing his run of ‘Comedy about a Bank Robbery’ in the West End when Covid struck. He moved back up to Nottingham in the Summer which gave us the great opportunity of bringing in another fabulous teacher. Thank you so much Tom, you are awesome and we look forward to working with you again in 2021!
Amongst all the familiar faces, we have worked with various guest performers from West End Shows including Six the musical, Avenue Q and of course, our returning guest teachers Jessica Temple and Michael Bell.
Teaching online is not easy for anyone, but our teachers/guests have adapted their talents to ensure they still deliver high class workshops. Thank you to them all.
Despite all of the ups and downs, this is a quick reminder of some of the antics we, at the Attic, have managed to achieve during the past 12months.
We welcomed our new starters to The Attic and I have to say, it feels like they have been with us forever, some things are just meant to be! Fourth Monkeyjoined us for a workshop and some younger students went for a casting for the new ‘Matilda’ movie with some receiving a call back on the day! We spent a couple of weeks having new headshots/videos taken for the Agency (was that really a year ago) and I finally managed to go and watch ‘Pricilla Queen of the Desert’!
This was the month of Workshops! James from Arts1 who has been a vocal coach for many schools such as Mountview, Tring Park, Birmingham School of Acting as well as television environments (he has worked on the X Factor with Little Mix, Kids Voice UK and lectures on Estill all around the world) came in to run some specialist voice workshops. Former student and actor Michael Bell (television credits include Our Girl, Knightfall, Outlander, Wild Bill, Official Secrets) came in to run some Audition Technique workshops. We managed to squeeze in two theatre trips during February, the first was RSC’s Measure for Measure at the Nottingham Theatre Royal and then a trip down the road at the Nottingham Playhouse to watch Witches can’t be burnt.
Lamda Exams took place just in time before the dreaded Lockdown was announced. I think we all spent a couple of days in disbelief as none of us have lived through such strange times as we are now but, we brushed ourselves down, crammed in hours of youtube tutorials to get used to our new friend ‘Zoom’! We even made time to create little videos singing happy birthday for our Attic family whilst washing our hands!
All lessons were on zoom, everyone adapted to our online sessions and although it was very strange at first, I have been extremely impressed by everyone’s enthusiasm. We even managed to record our first videos in April and so I have included links for your perusal if you would like to reflect on all the amazing work you have done.
Joy – This first video was a wonderful surprise by some of our Inter/Students spreading joy to one another….. it definitely brought a tear to my eye!
TikTok 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yOQABfSiOc&feature=emb_logo
TikTok 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfckV3kWXUk&feature=emb_logo
TikTok 3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDx1hSKmM78&feature=emb_logo
Music Videos – And then the Lockdown Music Videos were born. When I tell you these videos have probably created more tears than an onion chopping competition, I am not exaggerating! A lot of time and effort goes into each recording and I fully appreciate how many hours students, parents and adult choir members have spent, just to get ‘it right’! The struggle has been very real, but wow, I am so proud of all the amazing stuff we have managed to create together … and you are all now experts in recording!!! Jessica Temple joined us on Zoom for a Shakespeare workshop which was the start of many to come.
Juniors Imagine – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BK44pd_CIeg&feature=emb_logo
Inter/Seniors/Adult Choir I will Survive – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BK44pd_CIeg&feature=emb_logo
Acting students continued their Shakespeare work, the Junior students studied A Midsummer Nights Dream and Inter/Senior students The Merchant of Venice. Our Musical Theatre students filmed themselves doing their first solo performances. Later in the month Michael Bell joined us on Zoom for our next Acting project ‘Talking Heads’. Our Adult Choirs released their own video of Girl put your records on and Six the Musical Queen ‘Lauren Byrne’ joined our Musical theatre students for a Q&A session. Wow, another busy month!
Shakespeare 1 https://www.facebook.com/253933791955601/videos/664451280946168
Shakespeare 2 https://www.facebook.com/253933791955601/videos/327728761728410
Shakespeare 3 https://www.facebook.com/253933791955601/videos/283107393113386
Shakespeare 4 https://www.facebook.com/253933791955601/videos/716806519173273
Shakespeare 1 https://www.facebook.com/253933791955601/videos/604992107090030
Shakespeare 2 https://www.facebook.com/253933791955601/videos/1178768859188634
Shakespeare 3 https://www.facebook.com/253933791955601/videos/1824518917703842
Shakespeare 4 https://www.facebook.com/253933791955601/videos/747257155839456
Shakespeare 5 https://www.facebook.com/253933791955601/videos/284284519505717
Adult Choir, Girl put your records on – https://www.facebook.com/253933791955601/videos/793159647756539
This month brought another Queen to The Attic, this time it was Nottingham’s Harriet Watson from Six the Musical for another Q&A session. The Acting classes were also joined by guest teacher Jessica Parker from Avenue Q for a puppetry masterclass.The Lamda results from March arrived (finally) and again, 100% pass rate with the majority of students achieving a distinction. We always submit approximately 15 students for exams (sometimes more) so this is a really high achievement. Our Junior Musical Theatre students released Geronimo.
Juniors, Geronimo – https://www.facebook.com/253933791955601/videos/939736903153409
Junior Musical Theatre students continue to work hard with more solo work and the Inter/Senior Acting students devise short scenes combining Talking Heads with puppetry! There were too many to create a single puppetry video so I included some of the work in the Lockdown Video found in ‘August’.
Junior Musical Theatre Solo’s – https://www.facebook.com/253933791955601/videos/610410036271965
…. and then came Summer School. Rather than the usual 2 week intense sessions finishing with a show, we participated in a 4 week Murder Mystery. The students dressed up as their Characters as they worked through the clues to crack the code. Our Inter/Senior Musical Theatre students and Adult Choir recorded Somebody to love. Our Adult Choirs recorded ‘Lean on Me’ which we thought was quite apt for our Summary of Lockdown 1 and the first 20 weeks of zoom classes! Preparations to make our studios Covid Secure began. Lots of tape, sanitiser and printed masks were all part of the process!
Inter/Senior/Adult choir – Somebody to Love https://www.facebook.com/253933791955601/videos/1568552563482525
Lockdown 1 – Adult Choir singing Lean on Me – Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZAVuLhp5_o&feature=emb_logo
The big return! It was an incredible feeling stepping into our studio after so long. I literally couldn’t sleep with excitement, I was like a child on Christmas Eve! It felt so emotional welcoming our students back ‘home’ and a great feeling to be able to welcome new students through our doors once again, although to our new changed environment. Singing was still online, but we kept our fingers crossed it would not be for long. I didn’t complain … we were back! The studio Monitor was set up for students who couldn’t join us for face to face so everybody was a part of our return. We also welcomed Abigayle and Tom to the team who have been an incredible asset to The Attic.
Singing returned to the studio!! Hooray, 100% back! We managed to squeeze in some half term workshops for both Musical Theatre and Acting before Lockdown 2 hit us early November! The final song we worked on during Lockdown 1 was ‘Fix You’ highlighting some of the events we, as a nation experienced. I don’t know about you but this really chokes me up, so much to take in, in just under a year 🙁 On a better note, some junior students participated in some filming for Meatless Farm which was great to fit in before the dreaded lockdown!
Junior/Inter/Senior/Adult Choir https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifu6GcMuUXE&t=94s
So, the start of Lockdown 2, but we are pro’s at this now and we all handle it with much dignity and professionalism. Jessica Temple joins us for more zoom workshops, this time working with Voiceovers which was really interesting to listen to, Jess is the new voice when you call HSBC if you bank with them. Although our Christmas performances are cancelled, our students continue to bring incredible energy into each zoom session and we all work together to keep the morale of the group on a high.
…. What? Already! But always so much to fit in. We have recorded two songs this month (I know, the students are amazing!) Winter Wonderland was released last week as we approach the Christmas Holidays, All I want for Christmas is still being edited. I’m hoping you all managed to watch ‘Cinderella ‘ online, it is so important to support local theatre, if you enjoyed it, please encourage family and friends to watch it online too! It was great to see Tom perform and I really appreciated The Attics ‘shoutout’ … I heard a few people jumped out of their chair when they heard it! At the beginning of this month we received fabulous news that junior Student, Skye, will be filming with the BBC for 3 months for a new BBC One drama and our final Christmas Video which is currently being edited will be released Christmas Eve … fingers crossed it makes the deadline!
Junior/Inter/Senior students https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sOg2aSc0OU
Amongst everything that has been mentioned, there have been many personal journey’s/achievements throughout the last year but I can’t fit everything on here. I am so proud of each of you, not only because of your growth as performers even with all the restrictions in place, but because you have continued to push on regardless of your own personal struggles. You are all amazing, parents included because this has been a very testing time for you too.
Once this is all over (or at least calmed down), I will arrange an evening for us all. An evening where we are not afraid to stand next to one another, an evening where I can hug my students and tell them how proud I am of them, an evening where we do not have to hide behind masks, an evening where we no longer have to live in fear… an evening, just that … an evening where we can all just get together … I look forward to that.
Until then, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, I know it will be very different for us all this year, but may 2021 bring us all good health and plenty of happiness! Now blow the dust off your board games and just enjoy each other….