27th October 2022
We were excited to catch up with former musical theatre student, Jacob Yarlett, recently who is currently performing in the critically acclaimed musical, Book of Mormon, at venues across the UK and Europe. We asked Jacob about his time as a City of Liverpool College student and what he makes of landing his ‘dream role’ with the first audition that launched his career.
How did you get into your love of theatre and decide it is the career for you?
“I first became interested in theatre after I saw Wicked in London when I was 11 in 2007 – I liked the idea of being 20 feet in the air, green and belting out songs for my life. It wasn’t until I was about 13/14 years old that I thought I could do it as a career due to the very encouraging performing arts teachers at school and the fact I just loved doing it.”
How did you come to study musical theatre at The City of Liverpool College (COLC)?
“I was in my last year at sixth form in 2014 and didn’t feel quite ready to go off to drama school just yet so I was looking around for a foundation course. I wanted a year in which I could build upon the skills I already had and develop professional technique – the HNC course at COLC ticked all of those boxes for me. I had an evening audition where I had to dance, sing and give a short presentation on a show I loved. The audition was really fun, and I felt so at ease.”
What was your course like at COLC?
“The Musical Theatre course at COLC was great. We had classes across the three disciplines; Acting, Singing and Dance, where we built up our technique and received countless opportunities to perform. We also studied in a research and professional practice class which was great to learn more about the theory side. We covered so much over the year, and it was absolutely crucial for my progression. The facilities were incredible – a fully teched-out theatre, big dance and rehearsals rooms and we used them all constantly. My tutors were amazing. They were so encouraging and really pushed us to achieve what we wanted to as well as always giving up their free time to help us progress even further. I learned so much from them and am extremely grateful.”
How did studying musical theatre at the college help you to progress onto university and into the industry?
“Studying at the college gave me such a strong foundation and most importantly, the confidence that I could go into my drama school auditions knowing I was prepared and had trainable skills that could take me out into the professional industry.”
How did you take the first step into working in the industry?
“So after COLC I went to study my degree in Musical Theatre at The London College of Music (LCM) and graduated in 2018 without an agent which was terrifying as I had no security and felt like I would not get any auditions. My friend told me that Book of Mormon was going on tour and was about to start auditioning and that I should just submit myself as I didn’t have an agent. So that’s what I did and luckily, they asked me to come in for an audition. After many, many rounds I finally got the job as the Standby for Elder Cunningham.”
What has it been like to perform in such a famous musical?
“We say it a lot in the show, but it has honestly been INCREDIBLE. The Book of Mormon was honestly my dream show and Elder Cunningham was my ideal role and I feel so lucky to have been able to perform like this so early on in my career. As well as getting to travel across the UK and parts of Europe, the cast and crew are amazing – you honestly couldn’t ask for better people in a job. There’s always fun to be had with them.”
What’s a typical show day like and rehearsal?
“A typical show day as a standby now is – wake up, maybe have a walk to explore around the city that we are in and then head to work in the evening where we do a mandatory company physical and vocal warm-up which is a lot of fun. Then we’ll have our notices which are usually any notes from the show the night before to improve, as well as telling us if any covers or swings are on. If I’m standing in to perform that night, I’ll then get ready for the show. Occasionally during the day we’ll have cover rehearsals where me and the other covers will rehearse the show in advance.”
Any advice/tips for current students?
“My advice would be to take the work seriously but not yourself. At the end of the day, we’re not performing heart surgery and it is so easy to let yourself get wrapped within the industry. Make sure to find the joy outside of it and have fun!”
Any plans for what you would like to do next?
“First of all, I’m focusing on looking for an agent for when the show finishes. Hopefully then I can start auditioning for the next job whatever that will be. I’m very lucky to have ticked off my dream show already so anything else is a bonus. I would love to do Mean Girls if that ever comes over from the US.”