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Harnessing the Power of Performance

Published by Mayville High School on Wednesday 14th of December 2022

A parent recently emailed me to say, that despite their child not being a ‘dancer’, they were so proud of them for taking part in a recent competition performance. For me, this kind of feedback has as much value as, if not more than, placing or medals. It embodies the true Mayville spirit – that participation is a reward in itself.

This particular performance saw world champion dancers performing alongside pupils with no dance training, yet did this matter on the stage? Something immensely special about Mayville is the inclusivity seen during rehearsals, with pupils for whom the stage is their second home, standing side-by-side with pupils who may be experiencing the thrill of performance for the first time.

The creative arts form an essential part of education at Mayville, with performance encouraged on a regular basis. I consider it our duty to support children in the pursuit of their dreams and we are, of course, incredibly proud of every single child who steps into the spotlight.
One previous pupil, Tara Holland (pictured above), chose Mayville due to her passion for performing arts and said it was somewhere she, “Could feel supported in her hobbies, both in and outside of the classroom.” After leaving Mayville at 16, Tara is currently in her graduate year at Laine Theatre Arts, where she will receive a Trinity Level 6 Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre.

Whilst studying at Laine Theatre Arts, Tara has had professional contracts in pantomimes and recently performed in Musical Theatre Classics (from Les Miserables’ outstanding Musical Supervisor, Stephen Brooker). She also has an Easter panto contract in April. After receiving a successful job offer and awaiting another final audition, she is now deciding where her career shall take her, in her words, “Whether that be cruising the world or performing in a musical here!” For Tara, Mayville’s regular performances gave further experience and opportunities to develop her skills, ready for the industry, in an enjoyable and supportive environment.

Sophia-Ellis Shipp, a past pupil who attended from the age of 2-16, was drawn to the fact that Mayville offered KS4 dance qualifications. This was a stepping stone for Sophia, who, after leaving Mayville, continued her studies by taking A Level dance, whilst training locally and attending weekly ballet lessons at Rambert in London, in preparation for auditions into full-time dance school. She is currently studying for a degree in Musical Theatre at Stella Mann College of Performing Arts.

For Sophia, the many performance opportunities at Mayville perfectly complemented the extracurricular dance training she was undertaking. Mayville provided essential flexibility and support when the demands of performing in the West End required her to take time away from school; whilst ongoing mentoring from the Creative Arts team provided continuity between school and her external training and performances. The Creative Arts team also organised trips, to give other pupils the opportunity to watch and lend their support – an important aspect of the supportive ethos of the ‘Mayville family’. We love to see the pupils in their element on stage!

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