Okay, so going into my first week of classes at one of the leading musical theatre conservatories in London, the theatre capital of world, you could say I was a little nervous. “Intimidated” would be also be accurate. At times, even “scared out of my wits” wouldn’t be pushing it too far. But with each passing day, I’m more and more convinced that choosing to study abroad at Mountview was the best decision I’ve ever made for myself.
Since I’m studying through Direct Enrollment, IES Abroad has very little presence for my time at school. I’m dropped into the school as if I were any other Mountview student. And that also means, I go by Mountview’s schedule. Rather than, say, two or three classes a day at Queen Mary on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, or however their schedule works (I apologize to any Queen Mary students for whatever inaccuracies in my post), I’m up on my feet in studio classes from 9 – 6. “But what about sightseeing!” I hear you not asking. The way I look at it, I came to London to hone my craft as a musical theatre performer, and I have plenty of time to play tourist on the weekends.
Here’s an idea of what the work environment at Mountview is like. During Fresher’s Week, the professors repeated that we students should not expect, nor do we need, constant reassurance in class. We were picked out of steep competition to come to Mountview, and that is sign enough of remarkable talent. They are there to make us better, and to pat us on the head would not help us down the road when we compete for jobs with other conservatory students just as talented, if not more so, than us. The dress code is all blacks, no makeup, no jewelry. And there is an absolute zero tolerance policy for tardiness. In fact, if you fail to “swipe in” ten minutes before your first class, you will be sent home. Period.
Now I say this not to paint Mountview in your minds as some kind of theatre boot camp, but to illustrate the standard of professionalism and work ethic that this school is known for. Now I’ve told you about the rules, but let me tell you about the people of Mountview. Many of the teachers are still working actors and dancers, and when you see the kind of passion they bring to class every single day, you can’t help but feel you’re in good hands. And the students! The students are some of the friendliest, most talented, most fun people I’ve ever met. I will admit that I was a little concerned about loneliness when I first arrived in London, but the other students accepted me into their family with a big, warm hug as soon as they met me. I’ve even found someone who will let me come over to watch the 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who! It’s safe to say I’ve found my home away from home.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Chase Wheaton-Werle. I'm a musical theatre major from the University of Tulsa. Outside of my major, I enjoy creative writing and poetry. In the fall of 2013 I'm attending Mountview Academy for the Theatre Arts. This will be my first experience out of the country, and as someone with a passion for theatre and British culture, I couldn't ask for a better destination. I hope this blog can provide not only some insight to the intensive curriculum of an actor in the theatre center of the world, but also some good chuckles.</span></p>