Emma has Broadway in her sights


Broadway is the 'golden sun' of musical theatre - you know you're really successful if you've made it on Broadway.

So says Tauranga's Emma Walsh - and she has Broadway in her sights.

Emma is currently marking time before moving to New York to take up a place at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

In May this year she completed a musical theatre foundation course in Sweden - her mother's native country.

"I was studying (in Sweden) for a year and wanted to do more higher education. I went to London a couple of times to audition for different schools then I heard a school from the US was coming to England to do auditions so I went and I got in," she says.

It might be a bit of a cliche but, says Emma, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) college and conservatory of the performing arts "really is just like Fame".

It was the focus on performance that attracted her to AMDA.

"Once a week you have three hours of lectures on musical theatre history - the rest all practical - drama, workshops, plays, singing lessons and there are two shows - it's very full on and there are long, long hours."

The school is based in New York, right on Broadway which means students are interacting with directors and agents.

"The final term you are out in New York auditioning so there are a lot of doors and opportunities.

"A lot of Europe has good musical theatre, but Broadway is the golden sun of musical theatre. You know you're really successful if you've made it on Broadway."

While she has a scholarship from the school, Emma hasn't quite got all the money together she needs to get to New York.

She has applied for an AMP Scholarship and is looking for other avenues of funding.

"It's hard to find scholarships for American schools if you're not American and there isn't much for undergraduates," she says.

Before leaving New Zealand for Sweden, Emma was a student at Otumoetai College.

She started drama classes in England when she was five and continued when the family moved to New Zealand when she was nine.

"I fell in love with it - I'd go two times per week and a weekend every few months," she says.

At 11 she was asked to sing a song in one of the plays and that's when she decided she could sing. Then when she was 13 she was a member of the cast of Tauranga Musical Theatre's Rock Revival

"I started dancing when I was 15 and that's when I decided I wanted to do musical theatre - to be in musical theatre you need to have the magic there - drama, singing and dancing."

She also appeared in Rock Revival 2, How Charming and Too Charming for Tauranga Musical Theatre, Detour Theatre's Treasure Island and school productions High School Musical and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

"And I've always been part of the choirs and barber's shop quartet. I am so interested in the entire process of creating theatre - where the ideas come from, how it relates to people and what makes us what we are - but being on stage and being in the limelight is the optimum - I love the rush you get."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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