Gale Force has become the first theatre school in the Isle of Man to be selected by New Era Academy for examination.
The west Sussex-based academy’s examinations director Miranda Jacobs recently spent a day with the school to conduct an introductory grade in musical theatre examination with 17 Gale Force students.
‘The school’s founder and director Barbara Gale said: ‘Gale Force’s reputation always precedes us so we were delighted to have been chosen to be “pioneers” in the Isle of Man by New Era Academy. I have always been passionate about raising standards and presenting students with every opportunity to develop their potential, so I was more than willing to give some of them a new experience by agreeing for Miranda to see just what outstanding talent we have in Gale Force. And of course, true to form, of the 17 who took part, five gained distinctions, the rest merits.’
Distinctions were awarded to brothers Andrew, 12, and Jacob, 10, Halstein, Young Singer of Mann runner-up Maebh Worthing, 13, outgoing Young Singer of Mann Eve McGregor, 12 and 11-year-old Francesca Warren who gained the highest mark of the day, 90.
Mrs Gale explained that the introductory grade examination required students to perform a song of their choice from musical theatre then discuss with the examiner the song and explain why they chose it.
Ms Jacobs said: ‘The session went extremely well. Although New Era does a lot of work in Ireland this was my first visit to the Isle of Man. It was a pleasure to meet Barbara and her students. She was a wonderful hostess and her students were delightful, extremely well presented and polite. The examination was designed to assess candidates’ musical and communications skills. Every one of Gale Force’s candidates chose a different song and all performed well, with two or three emerging as quite exceptional.
‘New Era brings opportunities for students to have their work assessed in a nurturing, friendly atmosphere, for them to enjoy the experience and build their confidence. This is clearly an approach shared by Barbara and I hope there may be opportunities to work together again in the future.’
Mrs Gale said: ‘Performing before a new examination board can be stressful, but Miranda was a delight to work with and the students gained some truly valuable experience. She made the day special for me and the students and I look forward to the time when we may welcome Miranda and the New Era Academy back to the Isle of Man and to Gale Force.’
Photo caption - New Era Academy’s Miranda Jacobs, seated with Gale Force’s Barbara Gale and students Andrew, left, and Jacob Halstein, 12 and 10 respectively. Picture Andrew Barton