William Whelton Katy Lipson Joseph Houston
William Whelton Katy Lipson Joseph Houston

Katy Lipson, Joseph Houston and William Whelton have announced the launch of Hope Aria Academy, a new and exciting part-time drama course situated in Manchester.  Founders Katy, Joseph and William recognised a need for more opportunities for Northern-based performers to specialise in musical theatre. All three founders have backgrounds in musical theatre training and are currently full-time producers and theatre owners, actively working in the industry:

“Having produced 10 musicals in the North West, we have seen the demand for more opportunities for specialist training in musical theatre.  Hope Aria Academy is filling a gap within the musical theatre training available in the North West. With so much of the current focus being London-centric, we hope to offer a boutique, personable and professional course which allows performers to strengthen skills, learn new ones and challenge themselves whilst staying close to home.  We will create a safe working environment which will provide guidance and mentorship for its students as they enter or re-enter the musical theatre industry.”

The course is tailored for individuals who have already trained professionally and are looking for a fresh approach to training within a smaller, more focused atmosphere, for individuals who are not yet ready to make the leap to full-time drama training and require further tuition, and for mature students who have experience in musical theatre and want to re-train to return to the industry.
Students will also be introduced to the wider creative industry, with regular guest teachers in all three disciplines of acting, singing and dance, and opportunities for casting directors and agents to come and view a final term piece.

The first 12-week course will run from 22 April to 19 July 2019 (half term 27-31 May) on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings between 6.30pm and 9.30pm at Hope Aria House, Unit 15 Wellington House, Manchester, M40 7FS at a cost of £150 per week.  Applications are now open for students through the Academy’s website. One scholarship place for the course will be available, for which details will be released in the New Year. Later in 2019, the plan is to offer a full-time course as well.

The core faculty will comprise of Katy Lipson, Joseph Houston and William Whelton, who were together ranked in The Stage’s Top 100 Most Influential People in Theatre.  In 2016, Joseph and William joined forces with Katy of Aria Entertainment to spearhead Hope Mill Theatre as a home for new musicals, musical premieres and musical revivals.  Hope Aria productions since 2016 include Parade, Hair, the European Premiere of Yank!, Pippin, the European Premiere of Little Women, the World Premiere of Toyboy Diaries, Spring Awakening, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love, new musical The Return of the Soldier and Stephen Sondheim’s Putting It Together.  London transfers include Yank! at Charing Cross Theatre, Pippin at Southwark Playhouse and Hair at The Vaults. Their award-winning 50th anniversary production of Hair is about to embark on a UK Tour and Aspects of Love will be transferring to Southwark Playhouse in January 2019.

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