Studying with Mountview in Manchester - a student's perspective

As Mountview’s Manchester team welcome their second cohort, we caught up with one of the inaugural students, Frankie Robertson, to get the lowdown on what the first Foundation Musical Theatre graduates thought of their experience on the course.

From September 2024, we are thrilled to be offering a Certificate of Higher Education in Musical Theatre in Manchester – providing students with an artistically safe and supportive environment to develop their creative instincts while also preparing them for future training and career opportunities within the performing arts. Applications are now open.

Frankie Robertson Manchester MYT Foundation 23 grad

Frankie Robertson

Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? And how did you get interested in performing?

I was born in Islington, but we moved north to the countryside outside Warrington when I was four. I didn’t go to a school that neglected performing arts, but it was treated as an extra-curricular subject and wasn’t taken seriously as a career path.

“I am relatively quiet and introverted – not the kind of person you would expect to be a performer.”

I’ve always loved music; I started singing both independently and in choirs from about five years old. Drama on the other hand started to interest me as I reached my GCSEs. I am relatively quiet and introverted – not the kind of person you would expect to be a performer. Despite that, having a job in the performing arts was always a dream of mine, but not one that I thought would ever actually happen. I was given the impression there was no future in it. 

What made you apply for the Manchester Musical Theatre course? 

Firstly, I knew about Mountview’s reputation and how good their musical theatre training was, and I knew if I got onto the course it would be a dream come true for me. Secondly, I realised after some thought that there wasn’t really a downside; even if I were unsuccessful the worst-case scenario would be that I’d learn something that would help me in future auditions. Truthfully, I had no expectation that I would get onto the course, but I went anyway because I thought it was an opportunity to learn and develop. The course itself stood out to me because it’s unusual for a programme that prestigious to take place in Manchester. I also wanted to do it because it scared me. Earlier that year I’d chosen to delay my drama school applications until the year after as I’d become a bit overwhelmed by the process, but a part of me really wanted to push myself to do it this time round. 

What did you enjoy most about the Open Audition Day experience at Z-Arts? 

It sounds like a cliché, but they made it feel like a safe space. Apart from my own initial nerves there was a lack of tension in the room that I found very comforting. In addition to that I found myself enjoying the part of the audition I was most scared of – the dance audition. I’d had no dance training up to this point but despite that I found myself feeling like that didn’t matter. I felt like I could throw myself into it and enjoy it. I got the impression that they weren’t looking for perfection in any way, shape or form – rather, potential and attitude. I can honestly say it’s the first time in my life I felt comfortable dancing. The thing I feared most became the highlight of my day. I wasn’t made to feel inferior or judged at any point and was treated with kindness and respect throughout. I remember worrying that if I didn’t understand a part of the choreography, I would be either ignored or show myself up, but any time I or anyone else expressed confusion, it was broken down for us as if we were in a class setting. 

It’s good to hear it was such a positive experience. What did you gain most from the course? 

Where do I start? I feel like a far improved version of myself – worlds apart from the person who started that course. I feel vastly more confident and better equipped. Of course, I learnt many techniques and practices which massively improved my ability in all three disciplines, but I think some of the most valuable things I took away with me were to do with mindset, approach and self-assuredness. 

I learnt that failure isn’t the thing that so many of us are brought up to believe it is. It isn’t a weakness and all it can do is take you a step closer to succeeding and the best thing you can do is pick yourself up, dust yourself off and learn from it. Also that most people won’t look down on you for failing and those that do don’t deserve your attention anyway. 

“I learnt that failure isn’t the thing that so many of us are brought up to believe it is. It isn’t a weakness and all it can do is take you a step closer to succeeding.”

I learnt that the important thing isn’t learning how to do it ‘properly’. Rather, it’s learning as may ways to do it as you possibly can and compiling all the things that work for you into a toolbox that you can use for the rest of your life. A toolbox that will never – and should never – stop growing. 

I also now truly understand the importance of commitment to what you’re doing and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, something I struggled with at the beginning of the course, letting fear get in the way of my learning or doing my job.  I discovered that you truly get out of these courses what you put in and if you attack it with drive and dedication you will gain a lot more than if you let self-consciousness and fear get in the way. 

I gained more confidence in myself and my ability. I also learnt that it’s important to pay attention to those around you. I learnt so much from watching other course members grow and develop and was often inspired to further push myself as a result.  

You’re continuing your training with Mountview, moving to London to study on the BA. What are you most looking forward to? 

It’s hard to explain, but I really look forward to it being real. As corny as this sounds, it’s a thing that I have genuinely dreamed for as long as I can remember – and with every day that passes it feels more and more attainable than it ever has before. So, I guess I’m just looking forward to getting closer and closer to that. To finally knowing I’m capable of doing the thing I love. 

“I really look forward to it being real… to finally knowing I’m capable of doing the thing I love.”

I also look forward to, weirdly, the things that are going to blindside me. The things I’m not even aware of yet. There’s something fascinating about knowing how many ways to do this there are. It’s not an exact science. And I get to figure out my own way of doing it based on what I learn.  

I look forward to the people. Both the students – because when you start a course like this, you’re going to get a lot of people from many different walks of life with different skills and opinions – and the tutors, because on the course I had the pleasure of meeting so many that in one way or another really changed the way that I look at what I do and how I view myself. All of them taught me different things, that I will carry with me for a long time.  

I look forward to returning to the atmosphere that I encountered on the foundation course, where individuality is celebrated and encouraged and where we were all treated as artists and not as students. 

Any advice for people who may be interested in applying for the CertHE Musical Theatre course in Manchester? 

Just do it. Because even if it doesn’t go the way that you want it to go the only thing that can come out of the experience is that you’ll learn something. Rejection’s rough, but realistically, there is no downside. You don’t lose anything if you’re not successful. But if it’s what you really want, you have everything to gain. 

“It’s an incredible opportunity and I enjoyed every second of it – there is not a wrong note, forgotten line or disastrous pirouette that I would choose to have any other way.”

This course and the people involved are remarkable and are responsible for what has truly been the best year of my life so far. It’s an incredible opportunity and I enjoyed every second of it. There is not a wrong note, forgotten line or disastrous pirouette that I would choose to have any other way.

Thanks Frankie!

You can find out more about the course here. And, you can read an interview with the Manchester course leader, Paul Ryan Carberry, here.