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The Corporation

Posted: 22/12/17

Actor puts students in the career spotlight

A young actor, who has a leading role in a Nottingham pantomime, took time out from his acting schedule this week to give students advice during industry week at West Nottinghamshire College.

  • The musical theatre students made their guest James Nicholson very welcome
  • James observes the musical theatre students in the dance studio

James Nicholson, currently playing Prince Charming at Nottingham Playhouse’s Cinderella pantomime, visited students on the Level 3 Performing Arts Musical Theatre Diploma (20 December).

Students spoke to James about their current studies and their long-term career ambitions in the performing arts industry while he gave an insight into his own journey from drama school.

James, now 21, began his studies at the Birmingham Ormiston Academy which specialises in creative, digital and performing arts. James studied on the BTEC Diploma in Musical Theatre and was taught by West Nottinghamshire College’s very own Simon Watt back in 2012.

As part of industry week, James, who has done extras work in BBC’s Doctors and Father Brown, as well as starring in Olivier’s concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London, spoke to students about his learning pathway and how he got into the industry as well as offering advice on how to succeed in auditions and be registered with an agent.

James said: “Students must stay confident and believe in themselves and the skills they have to offer. In this industry there’s always lots to learn and you should be willing to learn more. Even now after I’ve graduated I’ll continue to learn in every job I do. That’s a really major thing to remember in this business.

“West Notts has a great theatre and studio space. It’s a wonderful new building and has a very energetic environment to be able to study and develop in.”

Programme area leader Simon Watt said: “James is such a hard-working actor and he’s doing so well. Even when I was teaching him in Birmingham I always knew he’d do well and he’ll go on to bigger and better things. I’m very proud of him.

“It’s been great to introduce my students to him and other industry leaders during this week, such as representatives from De Montford University and Sheffield Hallam University and theatre companies.

“We bring industry week into focus every year to give students the best insight into the industry. Our guest speakers help to give a wide breadth of experience and knowledge.”

Earlier this week, all performing arts students went to Mansfield’s Palace Theatre to audition in front of education director Chris Neil and writer Simon Marshall as part of the annual Write Track project.

In January, students will undertake recall auditions and six of them will be cast in the next show which is due to be rehearsed and shown at the college’s Create Theatre next spring.

Musical theatre student Mattilde Stokes, 17, said: “I really enjoyed James’ visit and it’s helped to give me a deeper understanding of how to approach my next study path. The thought of going to a drama school can be quite daunting but I’m keen to go to the Guildford School of Acting next like James did.

“I’m going to prepare myself and focus on building on my repertoire and getting it in an appropriate format and will continue to work on my confidence.”

To see James in Cinderella at the Nottingham Playhouse, tickets are available from the box office on 0115 9419419. The pantomime is showing until Saturday 20 January 2018.