Staff Spotlight: Adam Stadius

By Kath Hartley


Meet Adam Stadius, Programme Leader for Musical Theatre at Leeds Conservatoire, which welcomed its first cohort of students in September 2019

Tell us about your career in Musical Theatre…

I’ve been a teacher for as long as I can remember. I trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and even when I was training, the staff at CSSD recognised my quality as a teacher there, inviting me to sit on audition panels for the MA Musical Theatre course whilst still a student.

After training, I pursued a career in teaching, working around the country in the North East, The BRIT School in London and in various other institutes. Along the way, I trained with the incredible Scott Williams who introduced me to the Meisner Technique. The technique was created by Sanford Meisner in New York. Many well-known and renowned actors have trained in this technique (Christoph Waltz, Amy Schumer, Jeff Goldblum, Gregory Peck, Joel Grey and Bob Fosse to name a few) and Scott was trained by Meisner himself. From that point on I apprenticed myself to his teaching and have travelled around the world gaining various teaching influences to add to the tools with which I can train actors. 

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In my teaching career I have worked with professionals and graduates from excellent institutions around the country and have successfully coached actors either for auditions for productions (or even whilst they have been in them) such as Kinky Boots (UK tour), Hamilton (Victoria Palace), Dreamgirls (Savoy Theatre), Les Miserables (Queens Theatre) and many more.

I am co-founder of Both Feet Actor Training and continue to work around the country, coaching professionals for Musical Theatre, plays and screen.

How did you get started in Musical Theatre?

My first introduction to Musical Theatre was at the age of nine with a local youth company.  My parents needed something to do with me over the summer holidays and reluctantly I agreed to go and be part of a production and I instantly fell in love with the experience. The collaboration, energy and excitement in the room was like nothing I had ever felt before and I was hooked - it was like finding a home. I carried on in amateur dramatics throughout my teen years until I joined an exceptional stage school at the Gala Theatre in Durham. The Gala Theatre Stage School gave me the courage and commitment to pursue a career in Musical Theatre. From then on, I trained professionally in a number of institutions including the Central School of Speech and Drama, and then my career has led me up to here. I’m incredibly blessed with the career I have had and it wouldn’t have happened unless my mother hadn’t made me go in to that first rehearsal when I was nine.

What have been some of your career highlights?

As a teacher, it’s very interesting whereby my career highlights tend to be the ones of my students.  When a graduate gets their first job or a student has gotten a place on a great programme, the feeling of pride after watching them work so hard on themselves for three years or more is immense. I always try and champion and support emerging artists in the industry so the moment someone gets great news, I celebrate it like it is my own, as I had a hand in that actor’s development. In my job I have witnessed young actors change from fresh faced, nervous entrants to fearless, courageous, empowered artists and that is probably the biggest highlight, getting to witness that journey, and contribute in my own way.  

Adam Stadius Programme Leader Musical Theatre at Leeds College of Music

What lessons have you learned during your career about becoming a successful performer?

Firstly, and I believe most importantly, being talented is one thing, people wanting to work with you is another. Often actually, the first thing an audition panel will ask about an actor auditioning for a role is “what are they like to work with?” It’s really important that students understand they are building their professional reputation from the moment they enter professional training. The biggest thing anybody can take from that is to be a good person, turn up on time and do the work. Be the person whom everyone says of you, “I love working with them!”

Another thing I have learned is to understand that it’s a journey. Acting is a process, be that for theatre, film or otherwise. Young performers tend to want to get to the end-result be that the performance, the good grade, the dream job or whatever. I think you have to learn patience in this industry, and that every setback is an opportunity to grow, develop and work on yourself. 

Finally, and this is my core belief, in Musical Theatre you are an actor first. Above anything else, you have to tell the story, whether that is through song, dance or speech. An actor in a musical production never stops acting, ever. A great voice is wonderful, but if it is not connected to the story, it will not move an audience beyond going “wow, that’s a great voice”. It’s the same for dance, we are moved by the emotion of the piece, the acting work of the dancers as opposed to just their skill. Tell the story, above all else. 

What advice would you have for someone who was thinking of studying Musical Theatre at Leeds Conservatoire?

Firstly, if you are thinking about our course, come along to one of our open days.  It will give you a great chance to meet us and work with us. It will also give you a chance to ask any questions you may have about training at Leeds Conservatoire, and on this course.

Adding to that, I am offering bespoke Acting through Song and Audition Technique coaching workshops around the country over this year. If you think your sixth form, college or performing arts school would be interested, please get in touch.

I believe being a part of this programme is an incredibly exciting opportunity. Our teaching will be based on current training methods rather than too heavily steeped in tradition. Further to that, there will be a lot of interest from the professional industry in our graduates.

For those of you that apply and are invited to audition:

Try your best to show as much of your genuine personality when you are auditioning. You can do that through the selection of your pieces and the way in which you work with us on the day. We want to get to know you in the amount of time you will have in that audition.

Make sure you know your pieces inside out and back to front. Firstly, it will help with your nerves (fail to prepare, prepare to fail) but more than that, you can only give a good performance if you really know all you can about your audition pieces. You should read the play you choose your monologue from, similarly you should fully know the plot of the musical you choose your song(s) from. How can you tell the story, if you don’t know it?

Finally, try not to let nerves dominate your experience. We are on your side and we want you to be great.

Find out more about Musical Theatre at Leeds Conservatoire.

Book your Open Day now.

By Kath Hartley

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