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Spotlight Musical Theatre Podcasts

Welcome to the Spotlight Musical Theatre Podcasts for young performers. In each episode I invite a special guest from the world of musical theatre, dance and entertainment to talk to me - sharing their wisdom and I hope, giving you a little inspiration.

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Emily McCarthy, Cirque Du Soleil artist

My guest is the professional acrobat, aerialist and contortionist, Emily McCarthy.After representing her country as an acrobatic gymnast, Emily followed her dream and left home at the age of 16 to join the world-famous Cirque Du Soleil. Then, after hours of extra training in her spare time, she landed a lead part in the Cirque production of “Crystal”.Emily tells me how she went from being a Great Britain gymnast - to lead performer in one of the greatest shows on earth.Emily's YouTube channel and Instagram page:https://linktr.ee/Emily_McCarthy95

1hr 7mins

9 Jan 2021

Rank #1

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Bruno Poet, knight of illumination

I talk to Bruno Poet, one of the top British lighting designers working in opera, theatre, dance, and live music.Bruno has designed lighting for many of the world’s leading opera houses, theatre and musical theatre productions. He won the prestigious Knight of Illumination Award for lighting Björk’s Cornucopia concert - and for the critically-acclaimed Frankenstein at the National Theatre, for which he also won the Olivier Award for Best Lighting Design.He’s currently working on the new Lloyd-Webber musical, Cinderella. Due to open next year (we hope).I wanted to find out what he does, how he does it – and how he became one of the best lighting designers around!Music credits:Music from the trailer for Giudizio Universale"American Dream", "The Movie in My Mind" and "Kim's Nightmare" from Miss SaigonMusic from Frankenstein by Underworld"Hyperballad" by Björk"No Time to Die" by Billie EilishBruno's website: brunopoet.co.uk

1hr 5mins

22 Nov 2020

Rank #2

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Creating The Wicker Husband, with composer Darren Clark

My guest is the composer and lyricist, Darren Clark.Since beginning his professional career in 2012, Darren has been commissioned to write music and lyrics for several national touring shows and his work has been heard in productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre.I talked to Darren about his wonderful new musical, called The Wicker Husband.The show was the winner of the inaugural Musical Theatre International Stiles & Drewe Mentorship Award - and a finalist in the Kevin Spacey Artist of Choice Award 2016. And it had only just started a run at the Watermill Theatre, before sadly the Coronavirus pandemic ended it.We chatted about:How he started his career working for a Libyan oil company!Why he wrote The Wicker Husband - and the inspiration behind it.The challenge of writing songs for a life-sized wicker puppet.Casting the role of "The Ugly Girl" - and upsetting some agents in the process!One of the greatest mistakes songwriters can make.The wonder of discovering things you never expected as you write a musical.Music credit:The Wicker Man - a musical by Darren Clark and Rhys Jennings .Songs:Have You Seen My Husband, performed by Alex YoungMy Wicker Man, performed by Alex YoungThe Sparrows TaleThe Wicker MaidHeart of the WeaveWill Ye Lend Me a Suit?Symbols & Numbers - song from the musical Turing written by Darren Clark & Rhys Jennings, performed by Tyrone HuntleyDarren's website: darrenclarkmusic.co.uk

1hr 34mins

10 Oct 2020

Rank #3

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All about tap, with Ryan Campbell-Birch

I talk to the professional tap dance performer, teacher and choreographer; Ryan Campbell-Birch.​Ryan's passion for tap developed at a young age, beginning under his mother’s tutelage in his hometown of Bristol, and has since taken him around the world - from Stockholm to Sydney, London to LA, and New York to New Zealand!Ryan talks to me about where tap comes from, why he loves it so much, and what it takes to become a professional tap dancer.RYAN'S CHALLENGE!He has two challenges: one for under 16's and the other for 16+ tappers.After listening to his Podcast, go to the Tap Dance UK website and watch Ryan's challenge videos: tapdanceuk.com/podcast/Video yourself performing one of the routines (for your age) then share your video on your Instagram page, tagging: @tapdanceuk AND @gbswimstars_gbdancestars (that's me!). Make sure you include the hashtag: #ryanstapchallengeIf you really, really don't want to post your video, you can email it to Ryan at: spotlightvideos2020@gmail.comIF YOU ARE POSTING YOUR #RYANSTAPCHALLENGE VIDEO TO INSTAGRAM YOUR ACCOUNT MUST BE PUBLIC FOR US TO SEE IT.IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO MAKE IT PUBLIC, JUST EMAIL YOUR VIDEO TO US.The winner of the under 16's challenge will receive a free place at a Tap Dance UK regional workshop (dates and locations to be confirmed). The winner of the over 16's challenge will receive a free portfolio photoshoot in Sheffield with GBDANCESTARS.CLOSING DATE: 13th September, 2020Winner pays their own travel and other expenses.Ryan's decision is final.Dates and times for both prizes to be confirmed.THANK YOU RYAN - AND GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!Ryan's greatest tap video playlist! <HERE>Tap Dance UK website <HERE>Ryan's website <HERE>

59mins

13 Aug 2020

Rank #4

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Laurence Connor: Episode Three (and his amazing technicolor Dreamcoat challenge!)

My guest is the award-winning musical theatre director, Laurence Connor. In this special three-episode series, Laurence talks to me about his career – and the blockbuster productions he has directed all over the world for Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber. In this third and final episode Laurence talks to me about:How he helped create School of Rock with Andrew Lloyd Webber - and persuaded ALW to write the music for the show!ALW's epic rock music collection.Knowing when to 'let things go' as a director.Why ALW is such an incredible composer and storyteller.The importance of reading a preview audience's reaction.Directing ALW's new musical Cinderella - and why Carrie Hope Fletcher got the dream part.What 'Beauty has a price' means in the new musical.LAURENCE'S LOCKDOWN CHALLENGE!Make your own technicolor Dreamcoat and video yourself performing a song from the show wearing it. Be as creative as you want by singing, playing an instrument, dancing etc... Just go for it and get Laurence's attention!Share the video on your Instagram page, tagging:  @gbswimstars_gbdancestars (that's' me!). Make sure you include the hashtag: #laurenceslockdownchallengeIf you really, really don't want to post your video, you can email it to Laurence at: spotlightvideos2020@gmail.comIF YOU ARE POSTING YOUR #LAURENCESLOCKDOWNCHALLENGE VIDEO TO INSTAGRAM YOUR ACCOUNT MUST BE PUBLIC FOR US TO SEE IT.IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO MAKE IT PUBLIC JUST EMAIL YOUR VIDEO TO US.The winner will be invited to spend a day in London with Laurence next year at a Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat rehearsal. AND... Laurence has a surprise for the winner!CLOSING DATE: 30th August, 2020Winner pays their own travel and other expenses.Laurence's decision is final.Actual participation in the rehearsal will depend on the winner's age.THANK YOU LAURENCE - AND GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!Music credits:"Finale" "You're in the Band" "I'm Too Hot for You" from The Original Broadway Cast of School of Rock Album"The Way We Were" sung by Carrie Hope Fletcher"Jacob and Sons" sung by the London Palladium Cast of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat  (London Palladium Cast Recording)Laurence's website is <HERE>(PLEASE NOTE: AUDIO QUALITY IS VARIABLE BECAUSE OF INTERNET ISSUES DURING RECORDING)

41mins

18 Jul 2020

Rank #5

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Laurence Connor: Episode Two

My guest is the award-winning musical theatre director, Laurence Connor. In this special three-episode series, Laurence talks to me about his career – and the blockbuster productions he has directed all over the world for Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber. These include: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Chess, Miss Saigon, Les Misérables, School of Rock, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Phantom of the Opera, Oliver! and The King and I. He is also the director of the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Cinderella.I wanted to find out how he got to where he is today, what it takes to create a critically acclaimed West End production - and the big question musical theatre actors everywhere want to know... how you get a part in one of his shows!In this second episode Laurence talks to me about:When he told Cameron Mackintosh he thought The Phantom of the Opera was 'a bit stale'.How Cameron and he audition actors - and why Cameron sometimes 'saves you from yourself'.Why casting ensembles for shows is hard.Why he wishes every young actor could see what it's like being on the other side of the casting table.What he looks for when casting young performers - and his top tips for getting a part in one of his shows.The importance of just being yourself in auditions.Where the inspiration for his Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour production came from.The incredible story of how they found the actor who played Dewey Finn in the original School of Rock production.Look out for episode three - when Laurence talks about his AMAZING challenge and prize. Coming soon!THANK YOU LAURENCE!Music credits:"Overture" from The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary concert at the Royal Albert Hall"The Movie In My Mind" from the Miss Saigon Original Cast Album"I Dreamed a Dream" from the Les Misérables Live! 2010 Cast Album"When I Climb to the Top of Mount Rock" from The Original Broadway Cast of School of Rock Album"Heaven On Their Minds" from Tim Minchin Unmasked: The Platinum CollectionLaurence's website is <HERE>(PLEASE NOTE: AUDIO QUALITY IS VARIABLE BECAUSE OF INTERNET ISSUES DURING RECORDING)

34mins

10 Jul 2020

Rank #6

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Laurence Connor: Episode One

My guest is the award-winning musical theatre director, Laurence Connor. In this special three-episode series, Laurence talks to me about his career – and the blockbuster productions he has directed all over the world for Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber. These include: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Chess, Miss Saigon, Les Misérables, School of Rock, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Phantom of the Opera, Oliver! and The King and I. He is also the director of the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Cinderella.I wanted to find out how he got to where he is today, what it takes to create a critically acclaimed West End production - and the big question musical theatre actors everywhere want to know... how you get a part in one of his shows!In this first episode Laurence talks to me about:How a teacher inspired him to become an actor.Why he was just one audition away from giving up acting.Why West Side Story was so important to him in his early career.Why he thinks he's a much better director than he ever was an actor.Getting his first proper acting job - on tour with Les Mis.His big break (doesn't get much bigger than this!).Becoming director of The King and I... and sometimes butting heads with Elaine Page.Why children are often easier to work with than adults!Look out for episodes two and three - and Laurence has the most AMAZING challenge and prize. Coming soon!THANK YOU LAURENCE!Music credits:Jason Donovan and the cast of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, 1991 productionThe King and I, 2000 cast recordingLes Misérables Live! 2010 Cast AlbumWest Side Story, original motion picture soundtrackSlice of Saturday Night, original London cast recordingLaurence's website is <HERE>(PLEASE NOTE: AUDIO QUALITY IS VARIABLE BECAUSE OF INTERNET ISSUES DURING RECORDING)

47mins

1 Jul 2020

Rank #7

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Our Company Wayne McGregor story

My guests are professional contemporary dancers, Eileih Muir and Jordan Bridge. Eileih and Jordan dance in Company Wayne McGregor - recognised as one of the best contemporary dance companies in the world.Company Wayne McGregor features 10 world-class dancers, who tour the world performing dynamic, visceral contemporary choreography created by its founder, Wayne McGregor.Eileih and Jordan talk to me about:Where they trained.Why they decided to become contemporary dancers.Auditioning for Company Wayne McGregor - and why they wanted the job so much.Their first day - what was it like walking into a Company Wayne McGregor rehearsal for the first time?!Working with Wayne McGregor to create the piece Autobiography.Their advice for young dancers thinking about auditioning for the company.EILEIH AND JORDANS' LOCKDOWN CHALLENGE!Improvise or choreograph a one minute piece from Wayne McGregor's Collaboration album. You choose the track from the album you want to work with and listen in the Podcast to what Eileih and Jordan say they're looking for.Video yourself performing the piece and share it on your Instagram page, tagging: @eileih_ishbel_muir and @jordanjbridge and @gbswimstars_gbdancestars (that's' me!). Make sure you include the hashtag: #cwmlockdownchallengeIf you really, really don't want to post your video, you can email it to: spotlightvideos2020@gmail.comIF YOU ARE POSTING YOUR #CWMLOCKDOWNCHALLENGE VIDEO TO INSTAGRAM YOUR ACCOUNT MUST BE PUBLIC FOR US TO SEE IT.IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO MAKE IT PUBLIC JUST EMAIL YOUR VIDEO TO US.The winner will be invited to spend a day in London with Eileih and Jordan watching or taking part in a Company Wayne McGregor rehearsal!CLOSING DATE: 25th July, 2020Winner pays their own travel and other expenses.Eileih and Jordan's decision is final.Actual participation in the Company Wayne McGregor rehearsal will depend on the winner's age and dance ability.GOOD LUCK EVERYONE - AND THANK YOU EILEIH AND JORDAN!Bit more about Jordan...Born in Manchester, Jordan trained at London Contemporary Dance School graduating with a BA Hons in a Contemporary Dance. Amongst Jordan’s performing career, he has an award-winning dance film entitled ‘Us’ which he directed and choreographed in 2018. Jordan joined Company Wayne McGregor in 2017.Bit more about Eileih...Born in Derby, Eileih trained at London Studio Centre before completing a Masters at The London Contemporary Dance School. After graduating she became an apprentice with NDCWales before joining Richard Alston Dance Company. Eileih joined Company Wayne McGregor in 2019. Eileih's website is HERE.REALLY WORTH WATCHING: Wayne McGregor's TED talkMusic credit: Annotation, Mutation and Blue from Wayne McGregor's Autobiography.

1hr 2mins

21 Jun 2020

Rank #8

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Meet Roxy, the amazing 12 year old contortionist

I talk to Roxy - the most incredible 12-year-old contortionist.With nearly 100 thousand Instagram followers, Roxy is a brand ambassador for dancewear labels, frequently models for photographers and performs around the country...  displaying her amazing, jaw-dropping flexibility.Roxy talks to me about:The history of contortion as a circus act and more.What her teachers think of her doing contortion at school!The hardest contortion move she's ever attempted.How to become a contortionist and her top tips for amazing bendy moves!Where she met her performance partner @pixieleknotTraining to be a contortionist - and why its different to dance.Working with the world-famous photographer @jordanmatterWhat she learnt meeting the DanceMums.How she'd love to do acro.Her contortionist heroes.ROXY'S CHALLENGE!Watch the challenge video on her Instagram page <HERE> and post a video of yourself doing it. Tag her @flexible_roxy and @dragonflybrand and me @gbswimstars_gbdancestars with #roxyslockdownchallenge The winner will get a WINDSTORM photoshoot with Roxy (with lots of wind machines!) and a matching set from @dragonflybrandWinner will be announced on 21st June, 2020Roxy's decision is final.Please do not hurt yourself attempting Roxy's challenge - you do it at your own risk!Photoshoot will be in Sheffield, date TBC.Prize includes 8 photos.Winner pays their own travel and other expenses.GOOD LUCK EVERYONE - AND THANK YOU ROXY!

23mins

7 Jun 2020

Rank #9

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Sophie Corbett, voice-over artist

My guest is professional voice-over artist, Sophie Corbett.After training as a singer and actor, Sophie has worked in the voice-over industry for more than twenty years for clients like L'Oreal, Ford and McDonalds. She is also a compère, BBC presenter and host.Sophie talks to me about:How she started in the industry - despite being dyslexic.Her son won a BAFTA for a voice-over ad he did - at just age six!Why you need a showreel, but it's "worth it"!How you can rehearse by watching TV ads.Why you need a license to work as a child artist.The big opportunity for young voice-over artists.SOPHIE'S CHALLENGE!Record your own a voice-over advert and send it to Sophie at: spotlightvideos2020@gmail.comSophie will help the winner make their own voice-over showreel in London. Please listen to her talk about this in the Podcast.GOOD LUCK EVERYONE - AND THANK YOU SOPHIE!Sophie's website: www.sophiecorbett.co.uk

26mins

31 May 2020

Rank #10