Another Academi week over!

Between the 9th and 17th of July 2016, our 6th annual Principality Only Boys Aloud Academi took place at Atlantic College in Llantwit Major. It was a glorious summer’s day when all 32 members of the Academi arrived at the College just before lunch to settle in and get unpacked. It was great to see everyone again as we hadn’t been together as a group since our last preparatory weekend at the end of May and we’d all had a stressful time with exams so it was nice to see the boys again!

After lunch, we had a tour of the site then some team building activities before it was back up to the Arts Centre for the Musicianship Test. During the Academi week, as well as lots of rehearsals, we have musicianship lessons, sight reading lessons, two individual singing lessons, a masterclass and dance and acting lessons. It’s very full on but it’s so much fun and a great opportunity to improve our skills in these areas. We were then given our folders with the music we will be studying during the week and were shocked to see so many and in lots of different languages! We had music in English, Welsh, Latin, French, and Czech! Lots to learn!

As the week went on, we settled in to the routine of sectional rehearsals, lessons, full rehearsals and of course break times to play football, go for a swim or have a nap! We were all anticipating the dreaded boot camp and our section leaders kept hinting at us when it would be but none of us really knew. Suddenly at 6am on the Thursday morning, the section leaders came in to our rooms, banging saucepans and shouting! Looks like it was boot camp time!

Friday was a particularly exciting day – not only was it our Masterclass day (and we were all excited to find out who would be doing it) but it was also Cabaret day! After lunch, we all made our way to the Arts Centre and in walked our Masterclass leader…none other than Ruth Jones from Gavin and Stacey and Stella! We couldn’t believe it! She had come to do an acting and improvisation class with us and she was absolutely amazing (plus we got to read out some Gavin and Stacey scripts!) She was also really lovely. She spoke to us afterwards and signed some scripts and let us take selfies with her! After this, it was a quick dinner before getting ready for the Cabaret – this is always a highlight in the Academi week, where we all get together to have some fun and to show off some of our unconventional talents! Some of the boys sang, some played their instruments, there was a jazz and tap act as well as some terrible jokes!

Before long, it was Sunday and the first performance day. By now we were all really tired but focused on getting all our words, moves and notes learned in time for the performance at Bradenstoke Hall in the evening. After some last minute rehearsals, it was Showtime and it was so lovely to walk out and see friends, family and familiar faces in the audience. The performance went really well and we even had a standing ovation at the end! Then it was tine to go home for a day off to recover on Monday before doing it all again on Tuesday in the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. Once again, we performed our socks off and got another standing ovation! This time though, we weren’t going home after the performance but stayed in Cardiff because we had a bus to catch on Wednesday morning to Bangor in North Wales where we performed for the last time. It was very strange to say goodbye to the north Academi members but quite sure we’d see each other soon. Then it was back on the bus on Thursday morning to south Wales and home….what a week! We were all really tired but had such an amazing time and felt such pride in our performances.

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