Hollywood actor gives masterclasses at UCW

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US Star, UCW Performance degree, actor dancer choreographer author Matthew Shaffer

University Centre Weston (UCW) has welcomed renowned American actor, dancer, choreographer, director and author Matthew Shaffer for a series of expert guest lectures.

Matthew, who has performed on stage, in films and on television in shows including Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Broad City and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, spent 10 days at UCW giving lectures to students studying Musical Theatre, Professional and Commercial Dance and Performing Arts.

Matthew was also able to share secrets of success from his book So You Want to Be a Dancer, which gives aspiring performers practical advice for landing roles and breaking into the entertainment industry.

He said: “I want students to know what it is actually like being on set or in rehearsals for hours and hours on end, so I try to share practical advice alongside teaching technical skills.

“It is also really important that students develop their own character and use this to create content, and then take advantage of every opportunity to promote themselves and their work to sell their brand and their talents to casting directors and producers.

“It’s been really fun spending time in Weston and I’ve found the students to be committed and driven but also open and receptive.

“UCW is giving these students the skills and passion to be able to shape their own careers and make an impact in the entertainment industry.”

Matthew also teaches dance and choreography at the Studio School in Los Angeles, and his time at UCW is a result of the partnership between the two institutions.

UCW Musical Theatre Curriculum Coordinator Sylvia Lane said: “Having someone of Matthew’s experience and expertise spending time with our students has been fantastic, and shows the value of the relationship we have built up with the Studio School.

“As well as their students and staff visiting us last year and working on numerous projects together, we’re also about to take our students over to LA, which is the centre of the universe in terms of their career aspirations.”

Degrees at the UCW Academy of Performing Arts are delivered in partnership with Bath Spa University.

Photo by Abby Dearing.