Leighton Buzzard-based Musical Theatre High! is thrilled that one of its students, Alfie Humphreys, is currently making his West End debut as Lawrence in School of Rock.
We caught up with the 11-year-old who tells us how performing in the musical has exceeded all his expectations.
> What discipline of singing, dancing and acting do you like to do most?
I love them all! I love playing music too
> Do you play an instrument?
I play piano, clarinet, guitar and drums. My piano teacher Mrs Wallace has been to see the show and is really proud of me for being the keyboard player!
> When did you realise you wanted to perform?
I’ve loved the stage since I was tiny! I started drama clubs when I was 5.
> How did you get seen for School of Rock?
My agent put me forward for an audition, although the auditions are open to the public so you don’t have to have an agent to try out for a part.
> What did you have to do to get into the show?
Last July I attended an audition, where I played the keyboard and sang, and I was shortlisted for a final audition in December. As I wanted to be a musician in the show in between I was asked to attend Rock School once a month with other shortlisted children. Some of them are now in my team in the show!
> How did you find out you had got it?
My parents surprised me on Saturday morning just before Christmas after getting an email saying “I’m in the band!”
> What is School of Rock about and what do you do in it?
School of Rock is about a loser called Dewey Finn who fakes his best friends identity to become a supply teacher so he can pay the rent. He realises his class students are excellent musicians, so he turns them into rock stars! I play Lawrence, a nerdy pianist who turns into a cool dude keyboard player.
> How long did you rehearse?
I rehearsed 5 days a week for about 2 months
> What is the routine of a typical show day from waking up to going to sleep like?
On a usual day I wake up and go to school as normal, then after school I go home, get changed and travel to London on the train with a picnic tea! When I arrive at the theatre we do a physical and vocal warm up followed by a band jam (practice). After this we change into our costumes and get our mics on ready for the show. After the show I take the train home.
> How do you fit school in around being in a show?
I only miss Thursday afternoons at school when there’s a matinee performance. Usually I’m at school all day.
> What’s it like working in the West End and travelling into London?
Being in the show has exceeded my expectations! The travelling is OK - as long as the trains aren’t delayed!
> What is it like backstage and what do you do when you are not on stage performing?
It’s really exciting backstage as the power chords and the ballads sound great from the wings. Two teams attend each show, the team that are not performing are on stand-by so we get to play games and chat backstage.
> If you could be in any show, what would it be and why?
School of Rock!! It’s awesome! I’ve wanted to be in it for ages.
> Would you like to be an actor when you are older? If not, what would you like to do?
I would love to be a professional musician and perhaps work as a Musical Director in a theatre.
> Has being in a professional show met your expectations?
Exceeded them! It’s so much fun and I’ve made loads of new friends
> Has it made you want to continue to do it?
Definitely. I wouldn’t stop for the world!