Meet Todd Patrick: PATRICK STUDIOS

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What sets PSA apart? 

"I believe it's our employment rates and international employment, especially in America and on the West End. With our Alumni Karli Dinardo in Hamilton and Kahlia Davis scoring a lead in Mamma Mia, both in the USA; Nick Len, the youngest ever MD on the west, along with Anything Goes and another musical we will announce in the coming weeks; and Emma Clark in Cats, also in the West End. This matches with our outstanding achievements at home, like Euan Doidge in Kinky Boots and Samantha Dodimade playing the lead in Violet, and Josh Gates in My Fair Lady with Spencer Bignal, also alumni. My alumni are in every Australian musical. It's quite an achievement. In Asia, Taylor Scandlin is currently the Dance Captain in Cats. In Paris, we have artists in the Lido, Moulin Rouge and Nouvelle, with Julian Ardley as the Dance Captain in the Lido (my old company).

This week, we have three of our boys hitting the stage with Katy Perry in Sydney. Over the past month, my agency PM has won the biggest cooperate events for NAB, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Bastille Day event, running alongside charity events like the industry night Tuxedo Junction, the Beyond Blue event with Leah Howard, and the huge fun run promoting top Australian sports stars standing against homophobia in sports, with the AFL leading the charge.

I have a very strong policy on whom I employ to teach the students. They must be industry-connected and be able to give physical information, but that must go hand-in-hand with personal experience of what it is like to work in the performing arts industry. Making these types of contacts in your training sets you up for a great head start when auditioning. With all of our alumni very connected and our agency creating work and setting our artists up, it all works hand-in-hand."

PSA always has a large number of male students. Why is that?

"Everyone asks me this question, and to be honest, I'm not sure. We have very strong male role models, like our Musical Theatre Director Andrew Hallsworth, and Michael Ralph, Steven Grace and Nathan Panelle as constants on our teaching rosters. We have a more athletic approach to our teaching. It's very physical, lots of gym and acrobatics, but most of the boys who audition say they come for our technique. Boys also attract boys; with over 30 men in the full time programs this year, it's inspiring and brings more boys to the younger courses.

I think there's lots of bull in the education side of the industry - lots of smoke and mirrors, savvy social media and flashy websites. But boys look through it; they are not easily flattered and don't fall for good marketing. They look at what is being produced and are attracted to programs that have a history of developing strong male dancers."

What do you look for in an audition?

"Potential. It's all about potential, a great work ethic, thick skin and a hunger for success. A real passion for the arts. My most successful alumni were not the best in the audition; they were the hardest workers, willing to listen and willing to put the time in. They were not after social media fame; they wanted and got a long successful career. I love to work with positive attitudes and a willingness to give everything a go."

www.patrickstudiosaustralia.com.au

Elysia Baker