After negotiating her way through Storm Doris, West End star, Anna-Jane Casey, arrived at Brackenfield School in Harrogate last Thursday to give a Masterclass to local, aspiring musical theatre performers.
The event was hosted by danSing and Musical Director, Helen leaf. She had invited Anna-Jane to give a three hour class, working on vocal technique and acting through song.
Anna-Jane Casey who recently starred in Annie Get Your Gun at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, hails from Lancashire and went to London at the age of 16 to play Rumpleteaser in Cats. She has been performing professionally for over 30 years starring in many West End shows including Billy Elliot, Starlight Express, Chicago and Grease. On television, Anna-Jane has played Sophie in Eastenders and Linda in The Bill. She has sung all over the world with orchestras such as The Royal Philharmonic and performed at the BBC Proms as a soloist with the renowned John Wilson Orchestra.
With piano accompaniment by Helen Leaf, there was a fun vocal warm-up session and then Anna-Jane taught the young performers “The Rhythm of Life” from Sweet Charity, working on the meaning of the lyrics so that they were able to give a wonderful group performance with vocal harmonies and movement. The Masterclass continued with solo songs that were performed in front of Miss Casey and though this may seem daunting, she made the young singers feel totally relaxed with her friendly encouragement, energy and enthusiasm. Anna-Jane was delighted with the high standard of the students and tweeted, “What a group of AMAZING young ladies. An honour to teach them!”
All who took part gained so much from this inspiring opportunity. Dominique McIntyre who attends St John Fisher’s School said: To have worked with someone as professional as Anna-Jane Casey was a very humbling experience. She gave me advice that I will take with me wherever I go and I am so grateful.
Seventeen year old Amelia Cook commented: Anna-Jane had such a great energy about her. It was amazing how we all progressed after spending a few hours with her.
Coraleigh Hobson from York added: Anna- Jane’s energy and love for teaching made the Masterclass not only a fantastic learning experience but also extremely enjoyable.
Megan Mead from St. Aidan’s School said: I feel so grateful that I had the privilege of meeting a global musical theatre star. The Masterclass was life-changing for me!
By Michael Hine