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  • The HSA

How to educate a budding West End star - Harry, Year 7

Updated: Feb 22, 2019

From Matilda to Oliver Twist, London is a fantastic place for ambitious young actors starting a career in acting. Those who join a West End cast can showcase their talents in front of an international audience, opening up opportunities on stage and behind the camera. Behind the glamour of being on stage, however, is a competitive environment and strict schedule of drama, dancing and singing classes, together with auditions and rehearsals. As any parent of an aspiring actor will testify, balancing this with a school education is difficult! Home schooling offers a flexible alternative for students, so that they can fully commit to acting without falling behind at school.

This week, we spoke to Harry, a budding West End actors. Harry is twelve and has a passion for performing. Harry lives in South London with his parents and older brother. Before starting home schooling over a year ago, Harry found it difficult to juggle school with castings and rehearsals.

How would you describe yourself?

I’m just a normal 12-year-old really [laughs]. Apart from when I get on stage, then I change into whatever character I’m playing. So, I suppose you could think of me as many characters! At home, I can relax, and I like to hang out with my brother – we like playing video games together.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I get up around 7:30am, ready to start my lessons at 8am. I have 3 hours of lessons in the morning. Tuesdays are my favourite because I have English lessons. I know a lot of the plays and books from stage school and my teacher knows that I love the theatre. Sometimes we act out the scenes of the play, so I can put myself in the characters’ shoes and understand them better.

At the moment, I’m preparing for auditions - mainly for musicals and plays, but sometimes TV adverts too. Recently, I played one of the munchkins in Wizard of Oz. It was so much fun because there was lots of people my age and we played games backstage. My afternoons were spent in full-time rehearsals and reciting my lines, as well as matinée and evening performances.

What do you enjoy most about home schooling?

The best thing is that I don’t have to miss school anymore. I loved school but used to miss a lot of lessons when I was performing. I struggled to do my homework and couldn’t keep up! Now, I can keep on top of my school work better because it’s just me in the classroom and my teachers spend longer on things that I don’t understand.

What do you least enjoy about home schooling?

Sometimes I don’t get home from evening performances until midnight. I find it difficult to get up the next day for my lessons. My teachers are understanding and make sure my lessons are interesting. Once we did a ‘gums to bums’ experiment in Science to understand where our food goes.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I would love to play a leading role in a West End production. I’ll keep going to auditions and acting classes to improve and work hard over the next few years.

Who is your favourite character in theatre?

Billy Elliott or Oliver Twist – they’re such different characters. It would be fun to play both of them because, as actors, we are taught to adapt to different roles. The soundtrack and story for Billy Elliott is my favourite.

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