Dominic’s TV Experience

Name:                            Dominic Lang

Event Attended:         ‘Sam and Mark’s BIG FRIDAY Windup!’

Thanks to SPOTLIGHT DRAMA introducing me to some lovely people from The BBC, I was lucky enough to be chosen to take part in ‘Sam and Marks BIG FRIDAY Windup’ TV show on CBBC… Only I didn’t know it at the time (as you’ll see if you watch it!)

It’s been a great experience!

The show is due to air on Friday 26th February on CBBC at 5.30pm ( but you can take a sneaky peek on the CBBC website now!)

I hope you enjoy the show!!

Dominic 🙂

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Picking Up Accents – Advice from Jannah Zulqurnain

Jannah is a speech and drama student who is currently working on material for exams, performances and competitions. Jannah works on a variety of material and recently has been tackling different accents in prose readings and drama pieces. This is what she has to say about working with accents…

“For the competitions and exams, I have had to prepare a lot of pieces that require me to do certain accents. I often listen to audio books to get the accents just right. Apart from that, I generally enjoy listening to different accents and impersonating them.

I all ways find myself speaking to my brother and my friends in American or Yorkshire accents while we are playing. Sometimes I don’t even realise that I am doing it. I would really like to learn to do more accents. The next ones I want to learn are Scottish and Australian.”

Thank you Jannah, you’ve given us some useful information there about listening to stories to absorb the accent sounds and rehearsing the accents through playing. We’re looking forward to hearing your Scottish or Australian accent in the future!

Learning Lines by Eliza

I think we all must have been in the position when we have to learn something off by heart. If you think about it, it’s practically inevitable. Learning words for a spelling test, speech, vocab test, etc., etc. The problem is: how do we learn them? Read on to find out my three top methods.

  1. Rereading

If you are ever learning a large monologue or speech, remember to keep on going through your lines. Let me tell you, if you read through each line individually, you’ll have forgotten half of it when you get to the end. Instead, keep on adding your lines. E.g-‘I went to the shop.’ Say if your next line was ‘ I bought some crisps.’ You would then say ‘I went to the shop, I bought some crisps,’ and keep on adding lines.

  1. Thinking positive

Picture the scene. You’re sitting at the table with a massive script in front of you. Your initial reaction would be to look at it and groan. Understandable. We’re human. Instead, look at it with a positive attitude. Don’t think ‘Oh great, I’ve got to learn all this.’ Think ‘ Good, if I read the script and learn the lines, I’ll get to know the story!’ Just keep reading the script as a whole and you’ll pick it up.

  1. Putting it in context

As I said in the last point, reading the story will help you get a grip of the words, but it will also show you how to say your line. Saying your line with the right attitude will have an impact on the entire performance. If you forget a line, think about what your character would say in that circumstance. Chances are you’ll go along the right lines and the audience will know what you mean.

Thanks for reading!

Eliza  

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Welcome Back! Summer fun was gone like a flash but we started this new term off with a bang!

It’s been a busy summer this year with all of our new courses attracting a lot of new and old faces. From our new inspiring courses such as Character Development and Public Speaking to our always popular Drama and Musical Theatre Club week. We had some fantastic fun but it has to be said that one of the highlights were welcoming CBBC to the Claremont Centre who ran a fun workshop for our students as well as game show auditions. Very exciting! Keep your eyes pealed here for future news and developments as we find out about them on that particular occasion. Also some of our students had the opportunity to visit and be apart of the Blue Peter audience, we shall be hearing about their experiences soon.

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However the summer flew by and with September comes a new term with some new faces both as staff and students. As I am sure everyone is aware we said goodbye to Tom last term, who ran several of our classes including Friday nights’ Musical Theatre class. We hope he will return to say “Hello “ and tells us all about his new ventures. Replacing Tom we would like to welcome the extremely experienced Becky who has taken over the Musical Theatre class with gusto and panache! Welcome on board Becky!

We also ran a Facebook competition at the beginning of term offering first time families two free places on our Stage 1 Drama Tuesday and Friday classes until October half term. All the first time families had to do was tell us what their child’s favourite book or character. With many people sharing our competition on friends’ walls and group pages we picked two winners by random: James Eisen won a place for his daughter Charlotte and Sylvia Emerick’s won a place for her son Samuel. Both children have now started their sessions and are enjoying working on Aesop’s Fables and The Great Fire of London. Congratulations to both families and thank you to everyone who entered or shared the competition.

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This term we also have some new classes on offer in particular the Foundation Speech and Drama for 6-9 year olds on Saturday mornings (9:45am). A small group of up to 8 children who will focus upon clear speaking, communication skills, poetry speaking, story telling. This class will then act as a feeder class for our Advanced Speech and Drama for children in school Year 6 and above. Also on a Saturday morning at 10.40am, these children will be selected for the class by audition only. Ensuring keen and experienced students will be encouraged, allowing their potential and talent to thrive in a like-minded environment.

There are also more offers, adult consulting, events, sessions and projects in the planning. As they begin to take shape and then put into action you will be the first to know. So as I said earlier keep your eyes pealed, as it looks set to be an entertaining and thrilling term and year ahead!

We look forward to seeing you and your children this term.

Claudia and all the Spotlight Leaders

Taking Spotlight Exams with LCM University of West London by Sudiksha Devendra Kumar

Thinking of doing a LCM (London College of Music) exam soon? Then look no further, I will be telling you about the whole experience and what it entails! So what are LCM exams?  LCM exams are recognised qualifications and UCAs points are given to people who successfully achieve Grades 6-8, so it definitely is a very rewarding experience!

So what do you have to do? Different exam levels and types have different requirements so if you want to do an exam, the first thing to do is look at the exam syllabus which can be found online (on: http://www.uwl.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Academic-schools/London-College-of-Music/Web/LCM-Exams/PDF/Drama%20and%20Communication/drama_grades_2014.pdf  ) and try to find your exam type and grade.

In most grades, the candidate is expected to prepare two pieces: this may be an extract from a book or some prose or you may have to write your own talk/speech! If you are writing your own talk, make sure you include a clear but brief introduction which simply just tells the examiner what you’re going to talk about. Then, in a logical/chronological order, talk about your topic/experience! Ensure that you are speaking formally and that what you are saying makes sense- but this doesn’t mean you have to be rigid and uptight, have a friendly tone and include plenty of expression in your voice (e.g. if it’s an exciting moment then sound excited!). And to finish it off just conclude your talk with maybe a reflection on the topic or maybe a question! But do remember, when you are writing/performing your talk, don’t expect it to be right first time! There will be several drafts and versions but don’t worry about it- this is going to be learning experience and you will improve over time (with practise of course!). You also need to ensure your piece fits snugly into the time limit- aim for your performance to be about 30 seconds under the time limit so that on the day even if you speak too fast or too slow it won’t seem too short or too long! Also make sure you know what all the words in your piece mean because your examiner may ask you for the definition (I was once asked what a circus was!). The pieces usually carry around 60 marks (30 marks each).

The candidate is also usually asked to make a folder of work/portfolio. Depending on the grade, this could be pieces of work that interest you (which may have to be on a linked theme) or background material for a talk. Make sure you know what you are doing- if you are unsure ask your teacher! They should be more than happy to help! When making your folder/portfolio, make sure you are including things that interest YOU because the examiner may ask you questions on it! You may also be asked to write a Personal Reflection which is usually around a page long and the content of it, again, depends on the grade. To achieve the highest mark for your folder of work, try to make it artistic-but if art isn’t a strong point for you (it certainly isn’t for me!) then don’t fret, just try and make it colourful by backing pieces onto colourful paper/card and print out relevant pictures: let your creativity flow! The folder of work and discussion with the examiner carries 30 marks overall.

In the exam you will also receive a sight reading chosen by the examiner and you will usually be given around one or two minutes to look at it before performing. This could be any piece of work: a piece of prose, a poem or maybe an extract from a book! The only way to get better at sight reading is to just read out random extracts from books or poetry books. This part of the exam usually carries 10 marks.

On the day, the exam isn’t usually a stressful experience as long as you are organised and bring all of the required material to the exam. The exams are usually held at Chethams School of Music in Manchester- but this can change on some occasions! The length of the exam depends on the grade that you are doing but it usually goes by very quickly! You’ll go in and exchange names; then when you’re ready you’ll be asked to perform your pieces. Then you’ll do your sight reading! Finally you’ll discuss your folder of work and then that’s it, exam over!

Hopefully this has helped any of you thinking of doing LCM exams in the near future; and if you’ve decided that you want to, good luck!

by Sudiksha Devendra Kumar

Are you enjoying your summer holidays?

We’re having a great summer holiday so far. We’ve visited Wales and the Peak District in between hosting our summer courses. We’ve had some lovely beach days, countryside walking experiences and sampled traditional local cakes and treats! We can’t wait to hear all about your summer holidays when everyone returns to weekly group classes from 4th September.

This weekend we are making final arrangements for our Drama and Musical Theatre Camp next week. We’re very excited about CBBC coming along to our course to audition 8 – 14 year olds for what they describe to be a ‘shiny floor new gameshow’. We re looking forward to taking part in their workshop and small group interviews.

Next week we will be finalising our curriculum for the autumn term along with a new feedback system for parents. Each term we build on our experiences and we enjoy implementing new and improved systems.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Summer Courses 2015

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We are planning ahead with the Summer holidays around the corner. Here at Spotlight we like to offer something for everyone with a diverse range of courses. This year is extremely exciting as we are delivering more courses than we have ever before for 7-16 year olds:

Firstly we have our LAMDA Speech and Drama course on the mornings of 3-7th of August that will work towards an examination syllabus, acting and storytelling exercises and activities. Children will leave the course with material to take a future LAMDA exam should they decide to come back and join us for lessons in the Autumn Term.

In the afternoons of the same week (3-7th Aug) we have nicely dove tailed a Public Speaking and Presentations course which will build confidence and give you skills to tackle any potentially scary moment where you have to stand up and speak to a crowd – Be that an assembly or a speaking exam.

Summer theatre campNext we have our Drama and Musical Theatre Camp from 17-21st August. Always popular and good fun! The theme this year is “Famous Stories” with each day a new author:

Monday – Harry Potter Day
Tuesday – Roald Dahl Day
Wednesday – David Walliams Day
Thursday – Classics Day
Friday – Show Day!!!!
We will do script work, singing, dancing, storytelling, improvisation, devising, arts and crafts, fancy dress, mime, drama games and more!!!!

We then have two short courses: Scriptwriting and Acting for Camera (24-15th Aug) and Character Development Acting (26-27th Aug). These courses will offer a different side to performing, demonstrating the skills needed for screen compared to live theatre. With a focus on behind the camera, as well as in front of it, any budding screenwriters out there will find this course very interesting and inspiring.

Then especially for our 4-6yr olds we have a 2 hour morning or afternoon drama workshops focusing upon fun and teamwork. If you are interested, please register your interest and then we will be able to confirm our dates and times with you in mind. We have lots of spaces throughout August.

Contact us for further information.

We can’t wait to get these courses under way, and look forward to seeing you there.

Do get in touch to register your interest!