I was part of the first intake of year ten at BOA, so I guess I could say I’m a bit of an expert on the place! It was a rollercoaster journey and I spent four wonderful years there. BOA gave me so many opportunities which I never would have got at a normal school or college. Here, I was introduced into the world of pre-vocational training.
From my VERY first week, I had the opportunity to work with industry professionals on a showcase which was made within a handful of days. Our Musical Director was Alex Parker, a freelance Musical Director who’s credits include Les Misérables in the West End! Year 10 is a complete blur to me, time flies when you’re having fun! Then in Year 11, My year put on a production of HONK! The first year ten musical at BOA ever and the start of the traditional trip to wales for the year elevens, we went for a few days and whilst we were there we all did bonding sessions through crawling through mud and telling ghost stories in a tent as well as rehearsing intensively every chance we got. In HONK, I got to play one of the froglets and was introduced to new musicals. It was fabulous to say the least and such good fun… Then it was GCSE’s, the tricky part! And then I had to say goodbye to some lovely people, everyone was like family to me and I miss them all.
There were originally 37 of us in BOA Musical Theatre in Key Stage 4. Around 20 of us decided to stay on and continue into Post 16. BOA got a lot more popular and as our reputation increased so did our pathway! AS WELL as the twenty of us still at BOA, an additional SIXTY people joined. It was CRAZY and very hard to get used to! For the first few months, I still didn’t know some people’s names! As the year went on though, we all gotridiculously close as a year group and I’ve bonded with so many people and made friends for life. I did so many things during my year twelve life at BOA, devised and solo assessments, screen tests and monologues, DANCED FOR FREE RADIO things I never thought I’dconquer! I even modelled for my friends media project, something I never would have done before life at BOA.
. I also got the amazing opportunity to perform at an awards dinner for ‘Birmingham Made Me’ with my lovely trio formed of Emily Johnson and Tom Jones where we performed ‘Send In The Clowns’ from A Little Night Music.’ It was a huge event and I had the opportunity to dress up for a formal occasion, not everyday you get to perform at a fancy event!
Our Year 12 Showcase was ‘Best Of British’ Themed, It was a tough three week intensive rehearsal process, it was absolutely crazy but somehow we managed to get through it! It was amazing, all the hard work paid off and both nights of the show we received a standing ovation and had to wait for quite some time for the applause to die down before we could perform our final number!
We went on the annual year twelve trip to London, I loved the trip and thought it was great, we got to see Bend It Like Beckham, High Society and Memphis which were all absolutely brilliant. We also had the amazing opportunity to have a Bend It Like Beckham masterclass with Genesis Lynea and also a Q&A session with Helen Siveter (who taught me at WEM, she’s fab!) and Simon Ray Harvey who gave us an insight into the life of a performer.
Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Mr Bannon, the former head of musical theatre at BOA, Mr Bannon left to be Head Of Music at Arts Educational Schools in London, an absolutely amazing achievement, he was an amazing teacher and always supported me no matter what and I promised I’d make him proud. He’s still dearly missed at BOA and his legacy will forever live on- “Don’t say york, men, hill, up or down…” – Robert Bannon
Finally it got to my last year at BOA, it was a tough one, two FMP’s, plenty of difficult units and a lot of tears and celebration throughout the year group. The majority of my talented year group got into prestigious drama schools all around the country, ArtsEd, Mountview, GSA, Drama Centre, Arden, Rose Bruford, LIPA, Central, The Hammond, Birmingham School of Acting, Urdang, Trinity Laban, London College of Music, Musical Theatre Academy, the list is endless, I’m pretty sure we got the highest success rate compared to any other year group so far at BOA. Though I wasn’t one of the lucky few to get into drama school that time round, the best thing happened for our final show at BOA, I got a supporting role as The Little Girl in Witches of Eastwick, a personal goal I had striven for since starting at BOA way back when, it was an amazing experience and gave me all the confidence in the world, I was heavily relied on throughout the whole process as my double in the other cast was quite ill. I got the opportunity to do three out of the four shows including opening night and closing night and I felt like I really made my teachers proud. I went from the shy student in year ten to the confident girl taking her final bow as a BOA student.
There is no arguing that BOA is an incredible place, it’s one of a kind actually, without BOA I wouldn’t be the person I am today, I wouldn’t have the confidence to try new things to throw myself whole heartedly into a dance class, to get more recognised roles at whatever I do and for sure I wouldn’t have started this blog and look how many opportunities I’ve gotten over the few years I’ve had it, I wouldn’t swap my BOA experience in the world, despite the sweat, blood and tears that went into it, but that’s showbiz!
If you are interested in applying to BOA, please find more information on their website.