Housed in the former Tarvin Road Methodist Church on the outskirts of Chester City Centre, Majestic Academy of Performing Arts recently opened for business following several months of refurbishment work to breathe new life into the historic building but within a few short weeks, classes had to be quickly suspended due to the restrictions which were put in place as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Not wanting to let their Students down and determined to find ways to keep them active during the lockdown period, the team lead by Principle Joanne Saunders have turned to modern technology including Zoom and Google Meet in order to be able to continue to provide classes for their students and have introduced free 15-minute taster sessions which are available during the current crisis.
Speaking about launching the online session, Joanne said “We feel dance and singing is a great way to release endorphins and keep you smiling during these days of anxiety and confusion and we are delighted to be able to offer free taster sessions as a way of supporting the local community during these unprecedented times. For those interested in Musical Theatre and classical singing, we are also able to prepare children and adults for LCM musical theatre and classical singing exams, local festivals, touring West End Shows and opera production auditions. You can check out our free online dance classes for both children and adults via YouTube by subscribing to Majestic Academy or by following us on Facebook. We are also holding a live Q&A session with a panel of 6 leading industry professionals at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 14th April via our Facebook page and we hope as many people as possible, particularly those with an interest in the performing arts and who want to learn more, will be able to join us to meet the team and find out about all the activities and classes we have on offer.”
Once restrictions are lifted and the Academy is able to re-open, Joanne and her team will offer acting, singing/musical theatre and dance classes for children and young adults in three distinct age groups, Mini Majestics age 3-5, Junior Majestics age 6-11 and Senior Majestics age 12 -25. Classes will be tailored to provide a broad range of skills for each age group, all of which will aim to build up confidence and enable students to develop their passion for performing with the emphasis on making the classes as fun and as inclusive as possible. Subjects will include improvisation, acting, script work, play production, filming, presentation skills, musical theatre production, solo and group singing, street dance, commercial jazz dance and contemporary dance as well as showcases, audition techniques and vocal coaching. The Academy is part of Majestic International which also includes a highly regarded and successful modelling and casting agency. As well as being home to MAPA, the newly refurbished building will also be available to hire for a variety of functions and events.
Students will be taught by a team of experienced professionals from within the industry and will work on producing full-scale productions and shows with a performance at the end of each term. In addition, there will also be the opportunity to be scouted by Majestic International for theatre, film and television roles, many of Majestic’s clients have gone on to win major roles in the West End, in Film and on TV. Joining Joanne will be musical theatre and dance teacher Chloe Waggett and singing teachers Jon Christos and Mair Rees-Davies.
Chloe said “We at MAPA are extremely proud of the training we offer, throughout my classes, I like to take pride in not only caring but educating and inspiring the students Our training is designed to guide our young stars in the making towards their full potential. We have lessons planned especially to cater for both students looking to pursue performing arts as a career and beginners wishing to try out a new hobby. I am so proud to be a teacher at Majestic academy of Performing Arts and we are all very excited to see where this journey will take us.”
Jon, a former graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music whose prestigious career has included performances at The Royal Albert Hall and Proms in the Park for BBC Television said “I’m delighted to be joining the Majestic family and to be part of this innovative and unique project. The teaching staff on board have such experience, International acclaim and rated so highly in their respective profession. What an opportunity for the people of Chester to embrace and get behind. No doubt we will unearth some real talent and nurture those to achieve and become the best they can be.”
An acclaimed vocal consultant and singing coach with 40 years experience, Mair Rees-Davies said “I am honoured to be joining the Majestic family as a singing teacher for this amazing project which will benefit and nurture children of all ages in the Chester area. Singing is a universal language and is essential for social development and life skills.”
Speaking about founding the academy and moving to their new premises in Chester, Joanne Saunders, founder of Majestic International said “This new venture, Majestic Academy of Performing Arts, means the world to me as alongside Majestic International, we now have a beautiful space where we can develop creativity in Chester and come together as a community to support each other not only in performing arts but in business and family too. MAPA has already taken off in this building and we’ve had lots of nationwide interest in other events to be held in our venue, so I’m extremely excited to see what the future holds for our Majestic family and the people of Chester.” With the local community at the heart of Joanne’s dream of setting up the Academy, one of its aims will be to help the community by inspiring young children and to help them gain confidence. Joanne is also hoping to be able to offer a select number of places to children of low-income families in the future.