As we burst into 2023, we would like to take a moment to reflect on what a truly wonderful year 2022 was for ATA.
It’s a bit of an essay, so grab a cuppa and enjoy reading about our pupil’s extraordinary achievements in 2022…………
Our first ‘normal’ year following the pandemic and one that our staff and pupils approached with determination, excitement and dedication. So many exceptional performances; The stunning Sweeney Todd medley performed at The Orchard was a real high point at the beginning of the year and to be backstage again at this fabulous local venue was a real pleasure.
This was swiftly followed by our first face-to-face LAMDA exam session following two years of online exams. Our pupil’s and teams’ hard work was rewarded with our highest set of exam results to date, with 210 pupils taking their exam and an amazing 95% Distinction rate, with the remaining scoring High Merits. Our LAMDA team, led by Craig and Lucy really is second to none and one that we treasure at ATA.
2022 saw our juniors start the most sensational journey of gaining invaluable performing experience at major UK professional venues including The o2 , The Hawth, Chislehurst Rocks, The Summer Fair and The Christmas Lights.
To say we are proud of our youngest pupils would be an understatement. Their performances of Les Mis, Seussical, Annie and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory were spectacular. This gang embraces every opportunity to perform and the energy they create both backstage and onstage is a joy. We fully believe that they are our strongest junior group to date (and we have had some fabulous groups over the years) This team are stars to follow, they are confident solo performers as well as a strong team and we cannot wait to take them to many more performances this year.
Our seniors have remained resilient and strong despite two years of Zoom performances and comps. In 2022 they were back in the West End – Their performance at The Shaftesbury theatre was one of their best yet. What a comeback, this was the same venue where we performed our last show in 2020 before the pandemic. Our seniors displayed the sort of variety in performance usually only seen in professionals, turning their hands easily from Musical Theatre to Commercial to Modern Jazz.
The talent our seniors have is echoed in their winning places to further their training at a host of professional full-time performing arts colleges and drama schools and universities across England.
Imagine our Joy when we were asked if our pupils would like to perform in 2022’s biggest show in the world ‘The Queens Platinum Jubilee Pageant’ at Buckingham Palace!
Twenty of our young performers led the 70’s section of the wonderful show for the Queen entitled ‘Decades’ dancing and bouncing on space hoppers along the Mall towards Buckingham Palace screened to an audience of 7.5 Million! What a day to treasure forever!
More success again for our gang when our pupils competed at The Bromley Festival of Speech and Drama winning no less than 10 Gold Medals, 6 Silver Medals and 4 Bronze with two of our pupils being invited to perform at a designated performance for the most exceptional performers of the whole event.
This was followed by our own annual Drama Festival – after two years of absence, we were thrilled to have over 600 young performers taking part in this much-anticipated event. Our judges included a host of professional actors and college directors, all of who were blown away by the drama talents of our pupils.
IDTA 2022, what can we say? Every ATA pupil was awarded Honours for their exam! Raising the bar yet again and a testament to the outstanding efforts of Sophie, Amy, Zoe, Lauren and Jane. It was a wonderful day filled with fun and excitement to be back in the exam room again, putting on a show for our external IDTA examiner who reported that watching our pupils had been like ‘Siting through a show!’
Our casting agency has continued to thrive – We currently have around 35 pupils performing and rehearsing for local pantomimes and productions. Contracts have been won by ATA agency members this year that are off the scale! TV series Champion for Netflix, Jungle for Amazon Prime, Harry Potter immersive for Warner Brothers, TV commercials including; Zoopla, Asda, Tesco, Mcdonalds, Frontline. West End productions of ‘The Magic Flute’ at The Royal Opera House, Vocal recordings for major film animations and theatre projects as well as short films and educational videos. The opportunities have been sensational, through Jillian’s hard work and connections. Pupils have had the opportunity to audition for Disney movies, HBO series and major TV productions including Hollyoaks, Eastenders and The Crown. Well done to everybody for their superb self-tapes and face-to-face castings – The feedback has been superb.
ATA former pupils who are now professional performers and sports people have also had an epic year, flying the ATA flag; Luke Higgins, Silvia Presente and Sam Peterson (Reuben) in lead roles in major TV shows for Netflix, BBC and ITV. Joseph Thompson-Oubari playing Boq in the West End production of Wicked, Sydney and Collette on the entertainment teams for major Cruise liners and Ruby-Rose heading the entertainment team at Haven with Ella Rutherford now a professional footballer for Charlton Athletic and Ernie Rutherford now a professional boxer, to name just a few achievements and we look forward to hearing about many more success’s from ATA alumni.
Our Summer production of Encanto was truly enchanting. Over 100 local children participated in this large-scale project. The final show was so much fun with a large audience of supporters on the last day enjoying every second.
We also welcomed West End professionals; Jon Scott Clarke, Jonathan Mawson and Jordan Laviniere who passed on their ‘tricks of the trade’ and inspired our pupils throughout our 4 day West End Week.
Once again, our seniors were celebrating, when they were selected by the Jack Petchey ‘Glee Club Challenge’ producers to take part in this prestigious project. Weeks later the event was cancelled by producers but in true ATA style, the show went on – Our team found an alternative project for our gang with the VAD Inspirations competition. We knew it was a gamble, entering a dance-based competition as a vocal group – The competition was stiff, with so many accomplished dance performance groups taking part, but our pupils, against the odds, took the Bronze Medal and won a place in the semi-final!
More ATA awards were won at the prestigious Young Entertainers Academy Awards at The Churchill Theatre in October – Lucas Smith, David Dobre, Chloe Hinxman, Arthur Moffat and Tom Edgar were all nominated for major awards and spent the day at the theatre with the other nominees. Success came for Arthur and Tom, when they took the awards for Best Actor and Best Musical Theatre Performer. Emma Pearson-Dell and Leon Taylor were chosen to perform at the event and put on a wonderful show.
The final weeks of 2022 have been filled with so many special performances and events – The Senior Concert, once again was a resounding success, our pupils looked stunning in Emerald Green this year (take a look at our senior concert photo album) they really lit the church up and created an electric atmosphere with their brilliant, memorable performances. It was a magical evening.
Our junior Christmas shows were a delight – As is our ethos, every ATA pupil had a role, lines to learn, a costume and a chance in the spotlight. Our pupils learn so much from these shows – Our team like to think of them as ‘low-pressure’ but with well over 1000 parents coming through our doors on show week, the pressure on our pupils can be immense. As usual, our team made sure that our younger pupils were well-prepared and excited to perform and enjoy it they did! So much excitement backstage and every single one of them shone in their performance. They tackled American accents, solo singing lines, improvisation, tap dancing and props with skill and enthusiasm – another resounding success.
In short, as you can see above, ATA has had another exceptional year.
We would like to thank our fantastic staff team, who always go the extra mile, choreographing shows, writing scripts, making props, rehearsing and devising, always with our pupil’s best interests in mind. Thank you Amy, Jane, Sophie, Zoe, Craig, Hollie and Callum. Also to our unsung heroes who work so hard behind the scenes ensuring that sessions run as smoothly and correctly as possible, which isn’t always easy! Thanks to the amazing Hannah, Sam, Ben, Daisy, Angel, Amelia.
Thank you also to Jillian, for her incredible and consistent work throughout the year with our casting agency.
Finally, a thank you to our wonderful pupils and their families for continuing to invest their belief in our school – We count our blessings that we have such a unique, joyous, dedicated and talented bunch of pupils who rarely miss classes and report to us regularly the important role that ATA fills in their lives; the friendships they have and the bond with our staff team.
We will always treasure and value our roles at ATA and do the very best that we can to challenge, nurture, train and inspire you!
Now let’s see what 2023 holds!
The ATA Team