Even if musicals, song, dance (and generally anything beyond a dark and masculine production of Macbeth) seem a little unsuited to your band of unruly high-school teenagers, then hear us out, because staging a school musical has become seriously mainstream. Dare we say it, it’s even become cool.

Hit ‘high-school musical’ shows have been circulating on kids TV channels for a while, granted, but in recent years it’s the explosion of popular prime-time, all singing, all-dancing TV shows that’s really involved young people in musical theatre more than ever before.

From the success of reality show ‘The Voice’ to American teen-dream ‘Glee’, jumping on stage, expressing themselves and performing as a troupe might be more acceptable to your students than you may think.

So if you’ve a classical play or a modern adaptation in mind for your next production, then give a musical consideration instead. You will find it to be a more inclusive art form and a great way to utilise simple stage, sound and lighting resources to the full. It’s also a really effective way to successfully achieve a modern and current performance that truly reflects the interests of your students.

Why a High School Musical?

Widely Inclusive

Since the roaring success of the US show Glee, UK ‘Glee’ clubs and musical theatre has become increasingly popular throughout the UK and continues to attract all age groups with a passion for music and dance. The great thing about ‘Glee’ style clubs is that they usually have an underlying theme based on an inclusive approach; everyone has an equal part and the routines are simple enough for everyone to follow.

It’s a bit of fun, but keen performers take the community aspect of the clubs seriously and with auditions not usually required and dance moves kept as simple as possible, musical groups pride themselves on taking a collaborative approach and giving each member equal input.

This makes a musical ideal if you have a large school and choosing a talent pool is difficult. Adopting a collaborative approach is also a great way to help less-confident students get involved without all the pressures of performing solo. Many singing groups seem to perform in a choir-style with all members singing at the same time, but if you would like to showcase any special talents (for example if prospective arts colleges are in attendance) then there may be room for a few stars of show too!

Adapting Your Space & Achieving High Quality Sound

If your performance is particularly dance focused then you will probably need to invest in a performance and rehearsal space with a sprung floor, but musicals are usually about gentle movement so you may find choosing a rehearsal space is as simple as finding a spot where you won’t disturb others.

Quite obviously, the key component of musical theatre is a sophisticated sound system and it always helps to have a practice space that is acoustically optimised to ensure sound won’t ‘bounce’. However if this isn’t possible with your budget, then focus your efforts on the performance space for the main event. A stage and studio installation company will be able to advise on acoustic mapping, but at the very minimum you should ensure that your performers have suitable microphones that allow them easy access around the stage.

Ideally your sound system would include a PA system, amplifiers, microphones and mixing control decks with a passionate student or technician managing the system, but if all you have to work with is a village hall, then hand-held microphones will still make for a fun, albeit less seamless, performance.

It can literally be that simple to stage a musical and whether your budget allows for a crystal-clear sound system or nothing more than a few spotlights, the beauty of the musical is primarily in the fun of the performance! It’s a great way to unite students whatever your space and you can even have your students suggest songs to perform.

Now that’s excitement you won’t achieve from another production of Hamlet…

If you’d like to find out more about which sound system would be ideally suited to your space then please get in touch with our team at PG Stage for inspiration and professional advice.

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