KING’S Ely pupils and members of the local community got the chance to take part in a musical theatre masterclass with Kerry Ellis at the end of term.
Having graced the West End stage in shows including Cats, Wicked, Les Misérables and Oliver, as well as originating the role of ‘Meat’ in We Will Rock You, Kerry’s knowledge of the often cut-throat musical theatre industry is second to none.
Kerry began the masterclass at King’s Ely by sharing her own warm up techniques, as well as taking the time to get to know a little about everyone there. Her friendly and approachable nature really put the participants at ease, and allowed them to relax and enjoy the evening. After a vocal warm up, each participant performed a short extract from a musical theatre song of their choice for the group, with Kerry giving feedback after each performance. Her feedback focussed on performance technique, particularly using facial expressions and emotions in song and focussing on the message of what they were singing. She encouraged participants to speak the words of the songs as if they were lines, which gave their sung performances more truth and honesty. Some of the performances were outstanding, with Kerry commenting that a few were of West-End standard.
It was then Kerry’s turn to take to the floor as she sang ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from Les Misérables, which is King’s Ely’s next big musical offering. She had clearly used all the techniques that she had recommended earlier in the session, as the song was beautifully performed with a real sense of truth and realism. She conveyed Fantine’s despair so powerfully and it was a very emotional performance, which was met by rapturous applause from the masterclass participants.
Kerry tweeted after the event: “Great night at King’s Ely last night! Masterclass was fun, thank you for sharing your talents.”
This masterclass was the last of a series that ran over the academic year and students have had the opportunity not only to learn about musical theatre, but also about comic timing, acting for TV and film, stage combat and devising.
Nick Huntington, Director of Drama and Theatre at King’s Ely, said “Kerry is a legend in the industry. Her advice was invaluable for the students and her performance of ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ was worth the ticket price alone. We are very lucky to be attracting such prolific names for our series of Acting Masterclasses.”