25 Oct, 2018
10 : 00
On Monday, Yew Chung International School of Beijing was paid a visit by The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, or AMDA.
AMDA voice coach, pianist and music director, Christopher Stephens – whose credits include the Broadway musical Wicked – led a theatrical workshop with eight of our aspiring performers in Secondary school. He was accompanied by Junnan Liao, whose role in recruitment at AMDA has taken him across the international schools of the world in search of outstanding talent.
The workshop began with a warmup of face muscles, tongues, and voices. Christopher also introduced students to important breathing and posture exercises to prepare them for performance.
During the course of the workshop, students learned about projecting their voice and communicating with their whole bodies – including making eye contact as they delivered their lines to make their performance clearer. Finally, Christopher introduced a musical element and students had to deliver their lines in song.
“I don’t care if you forget your line!” Christopher explained. “If you can’t remember the words, say ‘blah blah blah’ and communicate the meaning with your body language and voice.” This was an interesting lesson for our students, who learned how words form only a small part of meaning in performance.
Bobby Hartigan, in Year 13, commented: “I learned a lot today and really enjoyed myself. I found it especially helpful to learn about projecting my voice better and overcoming nerves.”
“Christopher offered a lot of advice and constructive feedback to our students,” said Ms Freda Humber, Drama Teacher at YCIS Beijing who helped organise the workshop. “In particular, he encouraged them to take risks, and that whenyougo wrong, stay strong.”
“This week, AMDA are running auditions for their summer and degree programmes, and I hope that this workshop will give students the confidence to apply – by introducing them to important dramatic techniques, allowing them to receive and respond to feedback from a leading director, and perform under pressure.”
Ms Humber, who joined YCIS Beijing this year, explained “I want to open doors onto the world of performing arts for our students. This means scouting talent, inviting professionals to lead talks and workshops, drawing our students’ attention to the leading performing arts schools of the world, supporting applications, and nurturing their passions. I was very pleased to be able to host this workshop today, and am excited to continue to enhance our drama programme.”