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Drama Masterclass: 13th May 2021

Actress Michelle visits Altrincham College!

Drama Masterclass: Thursday 13th May 2021

Yesterday Altrincham College welcomed actress Michelle Keegan, star of BBC One’s Our Girl and Sky One's Brassic, to deliver a special masterclass to drama students.  Award-winning actress Michelle is well-known for her popular TV roles, including Tina McIntyre in ITV soap Coronation Street.

The masterclass started with an introduction to the Sixth Form, and its outstanding drama facilities, by Michelle’s brother and Assistant Headteacher, Mr Keegan.  Students then enjoyed a series of fun warm-up exercises with Mrs Mrozinski, Head of Drama, to break the ice and were given ‘emotional cards’ which they used to convey an emotion through physical movement and expression.

The students, from Years 9-13, demonstrated their talent and skills when delivering a 2-minute monologue, from a 21st Century text of their choice, in front of special guest Michelle.  The actress provided constructive feedback to every single student and was impressed by the high standard of performances. 

Students then enjoyed an intimate Q&A, led by our very own Mr Keegan, who enjoyed playing 'Jonathan Ross' and interviewing his sister.   Mr Keegan quizzed Michelle about her route into acting, and he played a series of clips from some of her most memorable television performances.

Michelle shared her personal story with the students; that she had always had ambitions to act and was a natural performer from a young age.  Students asked Michelle how she prepares for her television roles and she confided, "when I start a new job, I still get nervous, but confidence comes with time."  She admitted that when she starts a new role, she buys a new perfume, which helps her to get into character when she wears it.  Michelle also shared acting tips and told the students, "acting is all about reacting...if something feels natural then do it."

The students were presented with certificates signed by Michelle with tips on how they can improve their performance.

Year 11 student, Maisie said of the experience, “Michelle was lovely and very down to earth.  I really appreciated her feedback and she told me that I gave a very natural performance.”  

Student Jack, Year 13 commented, “I really enjoyed performing in front of Michelle and it was a fantastic opportunity to get constructive criticism from such a well-known professional actor.”

Head of Drama, Mrs Mrozinski was thrilled with the event and said, “It was absolutely brilliant to see the students being pushed out of their comfort zone and being able to perform in front of their peers and Michelle.  I am so proud of them and I can’t wait to welcome Michelle back in the autumn term where she will be able to see the students’ progress.”

Headteacher Ms Earle, said, "I was so impressed with all the students – and it was so lovely to see new students, joining our Sixth Form in September, involved. The students’ monologue delivery was astounding and they all took the masterclass seriously – they were all clearly fully prepared for Michelle’s visit and their professionalism shone through.  We are extremely grateful to Michelle for giving up her time to come into school and work with our students; the tips she gave them were welcomed by the students and her insight into the industry really held their interest. We are delighted Michelle has offered to come back later in the year as students pursue their drama studies, at GCSE and A-Level."

Michelle summed up her visit to Altrincham College in the statement below.  Thank you very much for visiting us Michelle and we hope to see you again soon!

Statement from Michelle:

I was delighted to have the pleasure of working with such wonderful young people at Altrincham College. Students were asked to perform a monologue which they had practised and rehearsed in their own time, for some students during a very busy time of GCSE assessments. I was so impressed by the talent, confidence and passion for performance in room, it was incredible! All of the students were so confident that it was almost impossible to provide critique. If I had been a casting director, I would have signed them all up.  It was interesting to see individual interpretation of each play and watch how the students used their vocal and physical skills to make their performance believable. 

The staff and students were so friendly and welcoming and asked me lots of questions about my route into the industry and the vast opportunities available in drama and performing arts. I shared my experiences and was able to give my own personal advice. The best advice that I can give to students is to never worry about what other people think, you will always question whether you are good enough for a role and worry that someone else is better. It’s a normal feeling and means that you feel challenged. That means you will perform better, have the confidence and go for it! 

I love my job and it was really clear to see that the talented young people sat in front of me share this same passion for performance.  

I am looking forward to coming back to Altrincham College to see how the students’ progress towards a really exciting and rewarding career.  

Thanks for having me! 

Michelle x