First year BTEC performing arts students recently participated in a fantastic, fast paced and technically demanding workshop led by Layton Williams. Layton is currently performing in the West End in the musical, ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’, and plays the lead role of Jamie. The musical is inspired by the 2011 BBC Three documentary ‘Jamie: Drag Queen at 16’, and follows a 16 year old boy who decides to be a drag queen.
The students were put through their paces in a mock open audition style workshop, a casting format that is used for the majority of performing arts roles. They learnt repertoire from the musical numbers 'Work of Art', from ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’, and 'Run and Tell That' from Hairspray.
Layton was completely awe inspiring and gave the students lots of advice about the industry, as well as answering their questions about auditioning and work/life balance. At the end of the workshop, the students got a chance to perform their adaptation of 'Don't Even Know It', another number from ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’. Layton was overwhelmed and full of praise as nobody had ever performer his material to him before. He loved their energy, characterisation and grasp of the choreography.
Emily Wheaton, first year student said, "It was amazing to hear from Layton about his experience of the industry. His confidence and big personality inspired me to believe in myself and my strengths as a performer."
Lauren Horsfield, first year student commented, "The workshop was so inspirational. It was a fun yet technically challenging experience that pushed me as a performer. The Q&A session gave me further insight into how the industry works, audition techniques and etiquette."
Emily Southwell, Curriculum Manager for performing arts commented, "This experience was part of our progression unit, where students select and rehearse their own audition material in preparation for next year’s auditions for university, direct employment and vocational courses. It was a true insight into how open auditions work and our students now feel they are prepared for how group auditions will run next year as they get ready to take the next step in their training."