Ireland’s largest theatre school, Belfast School of Performing Arts, which teaches around 400 pupils across Northern Ireland the disciplines of dancing, singing and acting, is preparing to throw open its doors to yet another new school, this time in Bangor.

We find out what all the hype is about and the advantages of getting involved in musical theatre…

Helps build confidence

Even if a career on the stage isn’t the end goal, think of all the different careers you might have that could really benefit, perhaps you want to be a teacher, see yourself as lawyer, or the sales floor is where you want to be – all of these jobs and most others will require you to have a certain amount of self confidence.

Develops social skills

The ability to communicate well will see you all through your adult life, allow you to ask for what you want and to explain why you need it! It will also teach you how to empathise and how to listen. This will help not only in your professional life, but also every relationship you have.

Some of the younger members of BSPA at the launch of Annie Jnr

Theatre teaches you to work as part of a team

When you are on stage, and even if you are the lead role, it is not all about you – the ensemble and every member of the crew need to work together to make a show unforgettable – a very important life lesson.

Develops emotional intelligence

Drama encourages you to understand and draw on you own emotions in order to ensure believability of your role. Once you understand yourself better by doing this you can be more in touch with your emotions and therefore more able to deal with the pressures life throws at you.

Teaches you to deal with rejection

In life we can’t all be winners, but coping with being rejected for a part you really wanted, and yet still going on to deliver a wonderful performance as a member of the ensemble, is truly something to be proud of. Throughout any show your director will be giving you constructive criticism, using this to become better is something you will learn to do and it can be applied to all aspects of life.

Simon Bowman, West End Superstar arrived in Belfast yesterday to take part in a number of exclusive concerts and a special master-class for the Belfast School of Performing Arts production of Miss Saigon which is set to take place in the Mac at the end of August. Best known for his role as Chris in the original Miss Saigon, Chris will be working with the cast and anyone else keen on learning the art of musical theatre, at a special two day workshop this weekend at the Belfast School of Performing Arts. Pictured with Simon are James Huish(left), Aristic Director, BSPA, Ellen Whitehead, from Jordanstown who will play the role of Kim and Connor Carson from Killinchy who will pay the role of Chris. For further information or to book a space at the masterclass please visit www.belfastschoolofperformingarts.co.uk or to book tickets for the show please visit www.themaclive.com To see Simon perform in concert with James at the Cabaret Supper Club please visit www.cabaretbelfast.com Picture by Phil Smyth

BSPA operates schools in Belfast, Lisburn, Ballymena and Bangor and is planning on opening more schools in the coming months across Northern Ireland. Around 400 children aged between 3 and 18 attend the weekly classes and take part in productions that regularly sell out some of the province’s most iconic theatres. Shows this year include Fame, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Little Shop of Horrors. Legally Blonde and Les Misérables Schools Edition which will be the two summer Youth Projects taking place during July and August 2016.

BSPA also regularly offer young theatre enthusiasts the opportunity to take part in a number of masterclasses with many stars of the West End and Broadway sharing their wealth of experience. The next masterclass is with Anna O’Byrne, described as one of the ‘most outstanding Soprano’s in the world’ by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. The Masterclass will take place in the Grand Opera House on the March 5.

For further information on joining BSPA please visit thebspa.co.uk

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