From the West End to Downe House

For the first time, Downe House has appointed a Musical Theatre Director-in-Residence, Mr Ben Sell who brings a wealth of stage experience, notably having taken the role of the Cricket Angel in the West End production of Kinky Boots.

 

 

29 September 2020


After graduating from the Guildford School of Acting (where he won the Musical Theatre Prize for his cohort), Ben worked in a multitude of musical theatre productions around the world including Dracula in the Universal Monsters live Rock & Roll Show in Japan and Jimmy and Nick in the Korean Tour of Flashdance.

We caught up with Ben in a rare moment outside the Drama and Dance Studios and asked him a few questions,

What does the Musical Theatre Director-in-Residence do?
It’s all about sharing my professional experience and skills with the girls who are interested in Musical Theatre which, to my delight, I have discovered is one of the great traditions at Downe House. In these first few weeks, I am getting to know the girls through teaching all the co-curricular drama classes, preparing them for their Trinity exams and Speech and Drama exams. It’s a very exciting time to be at the planning stage and I have lots of ideas about workshops, productions and masterclasses to enable the girls to really take their Musical Theatre skills to the next level.

What do you hope to achieve at Downe House?
What I love about teaching is the opportunity to inspire a young person to really believe that they can do whatever they want to do through working hard and never giving up. Already I have been so impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication of the girls I am teaching, and I aim to open up new creative opportunities to enrich and extend their Musical Theatre journey.

Top tips for anyone thinking about a career in Musical Theatre?
Take every single opportunity that comes your way to sing, dance, act or get involved behind the scenes. You just never know where it will lead. One of my aims at Downe House is to shine a light on all the different routes into Musical Theatre – as well as being on stage, there are so many different roles and opportunities involving art, textiles, music and English and I am also hoping to work with the Higher Education Department to engage the girls in an exploration of the amazing range of courses and careers within Musical Theatre.

What is your career highlight?
It has to be Kinky Boots. It was my first role in a celebrated West End musical in the featured ensemble and doing eight shows a week, every week. Gruelling but the most incredible experience and I absolutely loved every minute of it!

 What is your favourite musical?
One that people may not have heard of, an American Rock Musical called Next to Normal based on the book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt. It’s an emotional powerhouse of a story about a mother who struggles with bipolar disorder and the effects that has on her family. I just love the music and the story – it’s just brilliant and I hope that one day, it will be staged in the UK.

 Director of Drama and Dance, Mrs Kirsty Richardson said,

We are delighted to welcome Ben to the team and are very excited about the fresh creative input he will bring to Musical Theatre at Downe House. We have lots of innovative projects in the pipeline and can’t wait to get started!

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