Get to know our adjudicators
Sue Lupton will be adjudicating musical theatre classes at WCAF this year. Read on to learn a little bit more about her and to discover what she is looking for in your musical theatre performances...
From an early age, I was fascinated by music and drama. As a child, I sat spellbound at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and cried when a performance ended and we had to leave! My home was filled with music as my mother was a professional violinist. She was quite a taskmaster too!
My chosen instrument was the bassoon and I have been lucky enough to play chamber music, solo and orchestral bassoon since the age of 12, studying under Kerry Camden.
I moved out of the orchestra pit and onto the stage as an actress and a singer, my highlights being Bianca in ‘Kiss Me Kate’, Cherubino in ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ and Hettie in ‘We Happy Few’.
As a music therapist, I have been able to use the power and communication of music in a wide range of special education settings.
Later, setting up a school Drama department, I taught class drama, directed productions and staged musical theatre evenings. I have directed a wide variety of theatrical productions (from The Wizard of Oz to The Witches) and performed on the Malvern Theatres stages. I thrive on the challenge of fusing musical and dramatic skills.
For the last 7 years I have been a Speech and Drama and Musical Theatre examiner for London College of Music, travelling to Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Ireland and deepest Wales. I consider it a privilege to experience so many enthusiastic performances from 4 to 40 year olds.
In my spare time, I make silver jewellery and love to walk my dog on the Malvern Hills, with my family and friends.
I have a continuing passion for live performance and grab every opportunity to go to London and Birmingham for ballet, Musical Theatre, plays, opera and classical concerts. My most recent treats were Matthew Bourne’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and Sondheim ‘Old Friends’.
We caught up with Sue to find out a little more about her:
What are your top tips for preparing for a performance at a festival?
Take time to get into character before you begin and always hold that character/final position at the end. If you believe in and ‘live’ the character then your audience will too. I am looking for an equal balance of stagecraft and musicianship, a connection with your audience and a convincing communication of lyrics.
Who is your favourite writer/poet?
Favourite composers of this genre, Sondheim and Bernstein. Their music has so much relevance and depth and covers the whole spectrum of human emotions. As a classical musician I am also very aware of the classical and jazz influences in so much musical theatre writing.
Favourite musicals: West Side Story, Blood Brothers, Evan Hansen, South Pacific, Chicago, Into the Woods to name but a few! I find any excuse to go to London and Birmingham to see musicals, ballet and plays
What is your advice for dealing with nerves?
Think of nerves as an extra boost of adrenalin and energy. Channel them as a positive ’driver’ to your performance.
What is your favourite food?
My favourite food is a big roast Sunday lunch with my family, with a good glass of wine of course!
Where is the most exciting place you have adjudicated?
My most fascinating examining tour was to Sri Lanka. A beautiful country with wonderful smiling students wherever I went. Some of their English pronunciation in poetry and drama performances was quite endearing.
Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and what is/are their name(s)?
I have a pet dog called Basil. He is a Retriever/Collie cross. He is extremely fluffy, looks like a bear and adores human beings. He’s not so keen on other dogs but is an absolute fan of the Malvern Hills.
Tell us a little-known fact about yourself...
My hobby is making silver jewellery. I have an ever-increasing set of extraordinary tools and equipment but my favourite element remains beating a piece of silver with a hammer!
Thanks so much for letting us get to know you a little better, Sue!