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Culture

Exciting New Kid on the Block...

Oxford’s newest part-time theatre school offers something quite independent and unique
Marcus D’Amico moved to Oxfordshire from London a few years ago, and instantly recognised that there was a wealth of talent here that needed to be encouraged

Oxfordshire is not short of stage schools for children interested in the performing arts, but there’s an exciting new kid on the block in the form of Authentic Performance Academy (APA), Oxford’s newest part-time theatre school, which offers something quite independent and unique.


 

The Principal of Authentic Performance Academy is award-winning actor Marcus D’Amico who has worked with some of the most iconic directors in the business such as Stanley Kubrick on film and Declan Donnellan on stage. He was nominated for an Olivier award for Angels in America at the National and starred in Channel 4’s cult series Tales of the City.

Marcus started out as a child actor (landing his first role as the lead in Cameron Mackintosh’s 1977 West End revival of Oliver!) so knows first-hand what is required of child performers and how to draw the best out of them. Marcus moved to Oxfordshire from London a few years ago, and instantly recognised that there was a wealth of talent here that needed to be encouraged.

The school opened last year and has already produced a successful production at the North Wall. Students in the main school are aged between 8 and 16 and learn a range of performing arts skills with specific focus given to acting through modules including screen acting, theatrical production and duologues. The school also teaches singing and their vocal coaches are working performers in the West End and on tour. Tuition is very much hands-on and professional, so students are given an authentic experience of what it is to be a performer. Included throughout the year, are one-off workshops by industry specialists in areas such as physical theatre, stage combat and screen writing.

Authentic Performance Academy recently launched ‘Minis’ for younger children (aged 5-7) which serves as a fun introduction to the world of performing.

All students are invited to join the APA Agency if they’re interested in pursuing professional work within the industry. Having only just opened, the Agency has already managed to secure castings on top West End musicals and feature films. Marcus and his team are cultivating real artists, and intend to put Oxford firmly on the map in terms of producing fresh young talent.

Plus, there are big plans for the near future. The Authentic Performance Academy Youth Theatre for ages 17-20 will be producing several productions a year in both Oxford and London; APA are also planning on producing a professional musical for all ages and holding auditions; and the Minis will be opened in other areas outside of the city centre such as Abingdon, Witney, Thame and Bicester.

APA student Amy, aged 14, endorses the group: “APA has actually changed my life. It has helped boost my confidence, not only in performing terms, but throughout my life altogether. It has helped push me towards what I really want to do in the future, plus, I get the chance to work with professional actors”.

Positive about the upcoming changes and plans for the future, APA Principal and Creative Director Marcus D’Amico said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming new and fresh talent to APA; we are all very excited about the new changes and we know we’re going to be able to improve upon the successes we’ve made throughout the last year. We’re so proud of what our students have achieved and can’t wait to be joined by and work with more stars of the future”.

The new term starts on 10 January 2015.

 

Image - Marcus D’Amico