New music theatre school to open in Hampstead this month

HMDT Music students performing. Picture: Clive Barda.

HMDT Music students performing. Picture: Clive Barda. - Credit: Archant

A brand new music theatre school offering top class professional training to aspiring performers will open in Hampstead later this month.

Music education charity HMDT Music will open the I Can Sing! (ICS!) school at University College School, Frognal, Hampstead, on Saturday, September 21.

The charity, also known as the Hackney Music Development Trust, set up its first ICS! school in Haggerston, Hackney, in 2010.

Opening in just less than a fortnight, ICS! Hampstead will become sister school to the Haggerston branch and the charity’s first permanent base outside of Hackney.

Reflecting on the decision to set up the new school, the charity’s music manager, Rebecca Redfern, said: “It seemed that it really was a place that is rife with musical tradition and the children are really engaging.”

In May, the charity held preliminary sessions with children at New End Primary School and Christ Church School, both in Hampstead, ahead of the new ICS! school opening.

“The experience we’ve had of working with children in Hampstead is that they are really musical and theatrical,” said Mrs Redfern.

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“It’s lovely to explore that talent. There are some amazing voices in Hampstead is all I can say!”

ICS! Hampstead will run sessions each Saturday for children aged five to 16. Prospective parents will be asked to pay £200 per term with children free to attend one or all three of the school’s annual terms, which each run for 10 weeks.

During each term, children will receive tuition from top industry professionals, including musicians, actors, directors and choreographers.

Mrs Redfern said: “They will get vocal training, musicianship, performance training, they do some dance and at the end of the term they do a performance. It gives students the opportunity to experience the excitement of musical theatre.

“The idea is they meet new friends and gain the skills and confidence to perform at a high level. Unlike a lot of other projects, we really encourage the ensemble performing tradition.

“They perform altogether as groups, they don’t audition. It’s all about being inclusive and getting the best out of children.”

The ICS! experience is one which Mrs Redfern thinks schools are increasingly unable to provide due to curricular and financial constraints.

She said: “I think we are plugging a gap in education – the arts are very much being sidelined. But every school is under pressure and they do as much as they can. We add to and enrich what they can offer.”

For more information about HMDT Music, visit