This course has concessions available

Old Time Music Hall/Variety Theatre Performing

Professional coaching and rehearsals in preparation for regular public performances (at least 3 a term). Students attend for 2 hours: one hour of which is spent on solo performance and one hour with the whole group learning and performing groups scenas.

Available Classes:

Who is this course for

This is a performance group full of camaraderie and unique as being the only known workshop on Music Hall and Variety Theatre in the London area. It is a course that embraces mixed levels of experience from absolute beginners through more experienced learners to professionals. You may want to sing solo or in a duet, you may want to recite a monologue, you may want to be a comic or a speciality act or you may want the security of doing chorus work. Whatever your aspirations this course provides opportunities for you to develop and gain confidence not only in yourself but entertaining as part of a team! If you like Music Hall and Variety material and want to practice and extend your skills then this is the course for you.

What does this course cover

Each term is a unit in itself. A student is encouraged to decide what material to study for that term. Choices may include a solo song, a medley of songs or a recitation. The tutor, pianist and the group will observe and comment with advice for the improvement of the material with the end goal of a public performance in an in-house Gala show.

In addition, a number of choreographed ensemble items are rehearsed and included in in-house shows.

The group aim to present a Christmas, Easter and Summer show with full stage, lighting, scenery and costume facilities.

Opportunities also exist for students to rehearse their own material for outside engagements with direction both in music and stagecraft.

Students must attend a minimum of 8 sessions per term to be included in the public performance.

Where there are opportunities for students to choose their own materials, songs must be appropriate to the theme for the term and approved by the tutor in advance.

By the end of the course, students will:
1. Have chosen an approprite/song duet/recitation/monologue and have rehearsed it to performance standard.
2. Have learnt the words and movements of ensemble items
3. Have learnt new material to add to the existing repetoire
4. Contribute to discusions for costume, make up and stagecraft for each performance using relevant criteria
5. Have acquired background information on the history and practice of Music Hall and Variety Theatre.
6. Have made progress and gained sufficient confidence to perform in public.

What will it be like

The course is taught as a workshop. All students are expected to take part in the team scenarios as appropriate.

It is natural that the tutor and pianist and group act as your audience while rehearsing and all will comment and advise where required in order to build up self confidence and lead to a more entertaining performance.
The tutor will give feedback verbally and in written form.
Ongoing one-to-one tutorials with all students outside the class.
Students keep a record/diary.

Recording by audio tape and by video tape may be used for analysis of performance but also as a very nice way of preserving a memorable moment in the student's development.

Your progress over a term can be assessed by a far greater number of people: the show audience. Has the student been entertaining? The in-house show as a whole is assessed by a very loyal and large audience following.

What else do you need to buy or do

Music is available. Students are however, expected to provide their own costumes and props though advice and some practical help can be given even with these.

The Centre provides full lighting, scenery and staging facilities and dressing rooms for the end of term Gala shows(if the show takes place at the centre). End of term performances may take place in a hired venue, usually the London Welsh centre theatre.
Students are expected to learn words, tunes and scenas and where appropriate rehearse with others any duets. Memorising group song lyrics is essential so as to be part of a team. Students may have opportunities to perform in off site shows all over the greater London area.

What this course could lead to

Students can progress to more difficult material, to performing duets and to chorus ensemble work.

Students can progress to outside Centre shows and to semi-professional and to fully professional engagements.

Most students re-enrol for this course. It's the sort of course in which you can progress all the time, due to the changing repetoire.

There is detailed information in Reception about all our courses at the Mary Ward Centre.
Information about other learning opportunities can be obtained from Learn Direct: and from the following websites:;;;;


Thanks to taking part in Mary Ward Centre productions, I had the chance to perform at the ICA and the Edinburgh festival!



This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why choose Mary Ward?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening and weekends to suit your timetable. You can learn face to face at one of our centres (Bloomsbury or Waterloo) or take an online course

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’