Global musical theatre stars and theatre industry support ABRSM’s new Singing for Musical Theatre exams
Global musical theatre stars, including Hamilton’s Ash Hunter, joined top industry casting agents, theatre producers, leading performing arts schools, vocal coaches and ABRSM representatives to celebrate the new ABRSM Singing for Musical Theatre exams.The event, held at The Mermaid Theatre in London on Tuesday 20 November, included a variety of live performances of songs from the Singing for Musical Theatre syllabus and discussions on the new exams for Grades 1–3, which can be taken from January 2019 with Grades 4–8 to follow soon.Ash Hunter from Hamilton – currently the biggest musical in the world – joined ABRSM representatives alongside Kerry Ellis, known as the West End’s ‘leading lady’, and Cleo Demetriou, the youngest-ever Olivier Award winner for her role in Matilda, to talk about how achieving the ABRSM Singing for Musical Theatre grades is set to be the industry benchmark for vocal achievement.Representatives from musical theatre who attended the Singing for Musical Theatre event included the Brit School, Sylvia Young, the Council for Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre and a variety of singing teachers and vocal coaches.Ash Hunter said: “If there'd been singing exams with the rigour and reputation the ABRSM Singing for Musical Theatre exams have when I was learning, I'd have been in a much better position to go for auditions rather than learning to sing on the job!“Voice is becoming more and more important in musical theatre. It's the way to people’s hearts through telling a story through song, so it's important that performers of all levels really do learn to sing properly and also in the right way, which is what the ABRSM Singing for Musical Theatre exams do.“I've had to learn how to use my voice in the right way. Having a benchmark like the ABRSM Singing for Musical Theatre exams really would have helped me, and I'm sure they'll help many people going forward.”Rachel Lyske, vocal coach at the Brit School, worked on the ABRSM Singing for Musical Theatre syllabus, identifying songs to highlight they may contain more adult content, to support learning to sing in the best way possible for vocal health.“We sifted through thousands of songs for the final Singing for Musical Theatre syllabus at Grades 1–3, looking at the intellectual and vocal demands for each to make sure they're appropriate for people’s ages,” Rachel said.“The Singing for Musical Theatre syllabus is a live one, meaning if people let us know which songs they may like us to consider adding, we'll look into it. It also means that as new songs are released we can look to include them on the Singing for Musical Theatre syllabus quickly, so we are current."Rachel added: “The exams will give people learning confidence in their abilities and encouragement to continue with the grades, and to also have fun, whether a younger person or an adult.”The ABRSM Singing for Musical Theatre event included live performances from the syllabus by Stella Williamson and Alexandra Christou from at the City for London School for Girls, and young performer Jamie Sullivan from the National Youth Choir of Great Britain.
Watch Kerry Ellis speak about her support for the ABRSM Singing for Musical Theatre exams.Hear why Olivier Award-winning actress Cleo Demetriou is supporting the ABRSM Singing for Musical Theatre exams.Learn more about the Singing for Musical Theatre syllabus.