Edinburgh arts academy encourages young male performers to break a leg

Drew Gowland and Murray Grant founded MGA in 2005.
Drew Gowland and Murray Grant founded MGA in 2005.
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A LEADING performance school has announced a pioneering plan to attract more male talent to the industry through an innovative programme of free theatre education.

The Capital-based MGA Academy of Performing Arts has launched its inaugural Lads’ Week training initiative in a bid to encourage more young males to consider pursuing professional careers on the stage.

Around 70 youngsters from across the UK are expected to take part in the courses

Around 70 youngsters from across the UK are expected to take part in the courses

It is hoped the scheme - which will see dozens of youngsters from across the UK take part - can reduce the stigma faced by those pursuing careers on the stage, while paving the way for the next generation of performers.

Around 70 students have signed up for a range of classes and workshops focusing on either acting, dance or musical theatre with specialist training from MGA’s creative director, Murray Grant.

As well as teaching top of the range performance skills, it is also hoped the course can break down the barriers for young men taking their first step in the industry.

Grant, who has performed international musical theatre, opera, and cabaret productions in Los Angeles, Sydney and Vienna, said: “When I was growing up, I was always the only boy in the dance and drama classes I attended and it would have made such a difference if opportunities like Lads’ Week had been available then.”

“While I was teaching choreography workshops across the UK recently , I was surprised to see that there were still only one or two boys at each of the schools and wanted to do something about it.”

MGA was established in 2005 to provide a platform for aspiring performers to remain in Scotland while studying at a level equivalent to prestigious London colleges.

It has since grown from having just seven students in its first year to a current full-time enrolment of more than 200, attracting prospective performers from across Europe.

Previous graduates have included Edinburgh born Disney Channel star Thomas Doherty, who recently starred in in Catherine The Great alongside Helen Mirren.

Others, such as Fergal McGoff and Ronan Burns, have starred in West End productions including Book of Mormon and The Bodyguard.

Managing director Drew Gowland said: “Many of the male graduates from The MGA Academy have gone on to achieve great things.”

“Our Lads’ Week is about bringing a large group of teenage boys with the same interests together so that they can experience what training to be a professional performer is like without having to be the only boy in the class.”