Aoife Nic Aoidh Hughes | TrinityTalent 2020

Trinity College London celebrates Aoife Nic Aoidh Hughes for TrinityTalent for her Artistic Achievement in musical theatre and is the Youth Choice for her achievements in Drama.

Aoife Nic Aoidh Hughes | TrinityTalent 2020

15-year-old Aoife was nominated for TrinityTalent for her achievements in classical singing and musical theatre for her Trinity exam. She completed her Trinity exam online due to Covid-19 restrictions.  

Aoife was selected by the Youth Choice panel to feature as a Youth Choice for the Drama category. They said: "Aoife has such talent! The fact that she was meant to be performing in the West End which couldn't go ahead due to Covid-19 didn't seem to phase her and she seems to still be working hard. It's clear she has accomplished a lot and has a high level of skill. We're impressed and how she's risen above her set-backs and has kept going and keep working away. She's only 15 and has already done so much and we'd love to see what happens next!"

Aoife was nominated by her singing teacher Niamh O' Hanlon. Niamh said: "Aoife had a wide repertoire of music to learn from classical to musical theatre, but worked incredibly hard to ensure she was able to deliver both programmes to an excellent standard. Aoife is a triple threat who can really competently sing, act and dance.”

The Trinity Judges said: Aoife shows herself as a really accomplished triple-threat performer. Her performances make clear the range and versatility of her skill and ability to act at a level of great complexity.”

How has your Trinity qualification influenced your artistic achievement with your art? 

The process of studying for Grade 8 is really interesting as you have to develop a programme of performance using singing, acting and dancing with a theme that links the individual songs, drama and dance together. I developed a thorough knowledge of the musicals and plays I was going to perform from. I had to explore and learn a broad repertoire of songs, study the characters, work on appropriate movements and gestures to demonstrate the characters feelings and expressions. The period era of each piece is really important. I had to decide on simple costuming that suited each character as the changes had to appear seamless as part of the narrative linking the programme. I needed to study the music and notate phrase by phrase my acting through song, paying attention to the lyrics, rhythm, tempo and dynamics. I also needed to practice my programme to develop my stamina, moving from drama to singing to dancing and singing straight after dancing, which is no mean feat after a two-minute tap dance. This process has widened my knowledge of MT and the skills that must be fully integrated when performing. 

Has taking part in a Trinity qualification helped you to develop wider skills?  

My Musical Theatre exam developed my vocal skills in singing a diverse range of songs; all linked through the theme of women’s resilience. I felt this was a particularly poignant theme during the lockdown as we have had to develop our ability to be increasingly more resilient. The characters I played had a range of difficult personal circumstances. I enjoyed performing a tap dance to ‘That’s Life’ by Frank Sinatra, which demonstrated through the dance steps and the lyrics how we have to 'pick ourselves up again and get back in the race’. My programme finished with the epic character of Fanny Brice in ‘Funny Girl’ singing, ‘Don’t rain on my parade’. We must keep going no matter what life throws at us, and we must be determined to follow our dreams and remain focussed on what we want to achieve.

Please tell us how you found the experience of recording a digital submission for music or drama

I enjoyed the process because you had control over your performance. I was completing my Musical Theatre Grade 8, which is approximately a 25-minute programme. I had to sustain my performance for the entire period. I remember it was a really hot day when I was filming, and the conservatory was exceptionally hot inside, which meant I had to keep the door open. So just when you were in the middle of singing, someone’s lawnmower would start! It could be frustrating at times but very funny. I learnt that I had to be happy with the filming and appreciate that it was very similar to being in the room with an examiner; you weren’t going to get everything perfect in any given take. It was extremely useful to watch my performances and be more analytical about what I was doing. I found that filming my singing was beneficial as a rehearsal technique as I could spend the time thinking about what I was doing. I have continued to use this technique when practising. 

Would you like to tell us anything about the challenges you’ve faced this year, and how you’ve overcome them to achieve your qualification? 

I had been cast in a leading role for a West End performance before lockdown. I was thrilled as this would have been my first West End performance. The show was supposed to be performed in April but was postponed until the Autumn. So I took the opportunity to spend this time developing my skills in performance. That was when I decided to not only study for 1 exam but also undertake two examinations during this time. Unfortunately, just like many other West End shows, it was cancelled. My theme of resilience I had studied for my Trinity examination was truly relevant at this time as it was for many other performers. I felt truly fortunate that I had used my time to keep improving and developing my skills.

 What are the next steps for you following your qualification?

I am working on my Grade 8 Classical Singing exam, which I am really enjoying. I especially enjoy Italian, which I embraced when studying my Grade 7. I am also aiming to undertake my ATCL Diploma in Musical Theatre. I have had such a great experience carrying out my Trinity exams to date and am very grateful for how they have impacted my performance ability so far. 

 What are your career aims?

I am hoping to attend Drama college in the future to train as an actor. I want to continue singing and dancing lessons to have more versatility when trying to get work in the future.

Have you got any advice for other young people working towards a Trinity qualification or Arts Award?

I would encourage any young person to work towards their Trinity examinations as the examination process develops your skills and ability to develop the whole process of acting through song and integrating your skills.

More from Aoife:

Lambert Jackson Post 

Stagebox Facebook Link 

Aoife performing at Kids of the West End, Leicester Square, Spiegeltent 

Aoife performing at Cadogan Hall at West End Does Love Concert 

Aoife tap dance during lockdown ‘That’s Life’ 

Aoife singing Me and The Sky – Come from Away 

Read more about the talented young people selected to be featured as part of the TrinityTalent Class of 2020.


Trinity Talent

Trinity Talent

TrinityTalent celebrates talented young people achieving Trinity’s music, drama and Arts Award qualifications in the UK.

Teachers and students can nominate young artists aged 13-25 who have shown excellence in one of the following categories during 2021: CREATIVE FLAIR | PROGRESS | LEADERSHIP

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