Talent school is a real smash hit

Talent school is a real smash hit

Sophia Hodgkinson (in white jumper) performs with fellow dancers during an open day for budding stars at the Old Fire Station in Gloucester Green, Oxford

Some of the children singing

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by

OXFORD’S answer to the Brit School opens to the county’s budding singers, dancers and actors this month.

The Talent Industry Academy, sells itself as “Oxford’s most dynamic performing arts training school” for young people aged between eight and 18.

Term-long courses will cost about £290, but a free training session at the Old Fire Station in Gloucester Green on Thursday, offered local youngsters a sneak peek at what it will offer.

Founder Lydiah Igweh, who also runs the Talent Oxford contest, said: “It was really good, we had 45 students along for the day.

“They had masterclasses and then performances. They were definitely tired out by the end.”

The academy aims to provide training in singing, dancing, acting and “personality enhancement”.

Ms Igweh said: “I think both parents and children want to be taught by people in the industry.

“At the moment, people see music stars and actors on TV and say “I want to be like X, Y or Z”.

“But then at school, they are taught by teachers and in this business, it’s about who you know.

“So we have people who are out there, people who know what they are talking about, to help get these young people a start.”

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She added: “And for other people, they just want to become more confident.

“We can help with that, teach them how to network.”

The taster day was run by vocal coach Zoe Tyler, from BBC’s Any Dream Will Do and So You Think You Can Dance’s Mandy Montanez.

Coaches at the new academy include Kerys Nathan, who has worked alongside Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson and the CEO of Dance Cast, Farouk Bhimji.

Term starts on September 16 and will run each Sunday, with room for 60 students.

Sophia Hodgkinson, 14, attended the academy and plans to sign up for the next year.

The Headington School pupil said: “I’d really like to pursue acting.

“I’ve done bits of theatre so would like to continue that.

“This is great because the teachers are still in the industry so they haven’t forgotten what it’s like.

“It’s really good fun.”

For more information visit talentindustryacademy.co.uk

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