The great Chichester adventure comes to a conclusion for a group of third-year musical-theatre students currently on tour.
Remaining dates include Friday, March 23, 7.30pm – Connaught Theatre, Worthing and Sunday, March 25, 7.30pm – Theatre Royal Winchester as they hit the road with Bernstein’s celebrated symphonic musical On The Town.
Their performances are being marked as part of their overall grades at the University of Chichester. The company seem to be taking it in their stride, though.
Briana Paine, aged 20, originally from Wales, feels the Chichester course has left her ready to go out into the big wide world.
“We are all in our third year. We graduate this year and will all be moving to London to start auditioning for shows. I think we are ready. We have had a great time on the course and had great resources. Of course, there are more people than there are jobs, but you have just got to go out there and keep pushing and give it your best shot.
“You have got to be proactive in terms of keeping busy, keep contacting the agencies and things like that and realise that you can always improve on your auditions.
“I imagine it will be tough. You have got to accept that not everyone is right for every job and just be determined.”
The course has certainly offered the best preparation: “We have had lots of performance opportunities and the teachers are people who have performed in the West End and have got great connections.”
Also in the company is Charlotte Fishwick (20), who is anticipating all the benefits of touring, the greater experience that will come from not just performing the show in one venue.
“You get to see different theatres, different-sized spaces, different back stage areas, different cross-overs – the distance backstage between one side of the stage and the other.
“It will be the same performance obviously, but the different venues will slightly change the dynamics. There are quite a few big numbers and in the smaller venues you won’t be wanting them to feel cramped.
“A few people have been googling the venues, but really we will get to see them on the day. It is going to be great. We are a very tight-knit cast.
“Throughout our training we have realised that different parts are right for different people, but the great thing is that the female parts are double cast. It is really interesting to see what different performers can bring to the part.
“Something Chichester has been really good at is making sure that you still stay your own person rather than being a model, and I think that puts you in good stead for the industry.”
Kody Mortimer (20), is feeling similarly confident for the future.
“I remember the audition day, and the teachers were just so kind compared to a lot of places that I auditioned for. It just felt really like home, and it is also such a great area to me.
“I have really enjoyed the course, and as a boy, there are not that many boys on it, which means I have been lucky enough to have some fantastic opportunities, like Carousel and one of the leads now in On The Town. It’s a really big role for me. I feel that we have been really pushed.
“Because it was a university, I was doubting if the training would be as good as you might get at one of the massive drama schools in London, but really the teachers have been great. They have all worked in the industry.”
And On The Town is a great show to conclude their Sussex journey with: “It is such a classic show and a very reminiscent show for the areas in the south-east we are playing. People will remember it and know it. And it is also a show that has got everything, with dance and comedy and big numbers. And it is also quite a hard-hitting show as well as being a comedy.”