Musical Theatre Student grateful to UWTSD for her development

Hannah Novello recently graduated from the MA Musical Theatre course at UWTSD’s Wales Academy of Voice and Dramatic Arts.

Hannah decided to study at UWTSD as she really wanted to stay in Cardiff to study and perform through the medium of Welsh. Before studying the MA she studied the BA Perfformio (‘Performance’) course, and as she enjoyed the course so much, she returned to the University to study the MA Musical Theatre course.

A number of factors drew Hannah to the course. She said:

“The low cost certainly drew me to the course, because compared with other Drama schools, it’s a bargain! And I also liked the fact that there was a big focus on the practical side, such as three public performances and a Showcase in London.”

During her course, Hannah had the opportunity to learn a variety of new skills. She had a variety of dance lessons including tap jazz and ballet, and she also learnt audition technique and experienced what an actual dance audition is like. Hannah also had 1 to 1 singing lessons and group lessons, where she learnt more about ‘Estill’, which is a voice training system. In addition, the course provided acting lessons to practice monologues, scenes with partners, and to learn about different acting techniques e.g. Meisner’s technique.

Hannah’s favourite thing was:

“the opportunity to perform two large musical theatre shows, because I learnt so much about how to save my energy as a performer, especially when we had a number of shows in a day. I also learnt not to let the kind of audience, or the size, affect my performance.  Having the opportunity to play the main character in our final musical show, Miss Littlewood, was an honour. I learnt a load of new skills and I’ll remember the experience forever.”

“Another special experience we had was the opportunity to perform our Showcase in London. The experience gave me a taste of how it would be to perform in different theatres.”

While at University, Hannah received continuous support from her lecturers. She added:

“I felt absolutely safe during our lessons to ask anything. Because I have ADHD, I sometimes had trouble organising my time properly, but every lecturer helped me with this by giving feedback and advice on how to cope with balancing all the modules.

“My singing lecturers also supported me when I lost my voice; I couldn’t do my singing assessment, and I was really worried about it, but my lecturers comforted me and gave me a lot of advice on how to look after myself and my voice.”

Hannah said that she has:

“become a much more confident person because of this course; I faced a number of situations where I had to overcome my fears, and because of that, I can deal with so many different experiences now.”

During her course, Hannah learnt about different accents, how to warm up her body and voice before singing or dancing, and how to deal with new scripts/monologues that have helped her with her career since she graduated.

“I have had quite a few auditions since I left the course, and have also had my first acting job, where I went on a theatre in education tour for five weeks around secondary schools in Manchester, North Wales and South Wales. I used a number of the skills I learnt on the course for those experiences, and will continue to use them for similar opportunities in the future.

Hannah now has an agent following her last show at the University, Miss Littlewood, and she hopes that this will open doors for her to receive more performance opportunities to develop her career.

During the recent graduation ceremony, Hannah won the Stuart Burrows award for her contribution to the Welsh Performing Arts at the University. She said

“I was delighted when I won the Award at the ceremony. My family and friends are extremely proud of me, and I’m proud of myself too. I will use the money I received with the award to continue with singing, dancing and acting lessons to develop my craft.”

Eilir Owen Griffiths, Wales Academy of Voice and Dramatic Arts Director said:

“Hannah started with us on the BA Perfformio course and then went on to the MA. We have seen Hannah blossoming over a period of three years. She was a shy performer in her first year and then owned the main part in Miss Littlewood to complete her Master’s degree. Huge congratulations to her and the best of luck for the future.”