Audition Experience: Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow

Last week I went all the way up to Glasgow for this year’s first drama school audition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. I’ll start just by letting you know, I didn’t get a recall so I won’t be able to tell you about anything after the first stage this year.

When you’re given your audition date be sure to read everything in the link you’re sent, it will give you information for before, during, and after the audition. There is also a form that you need to print, fill out, and send back with your speech choices and a photograph.

I had initially planned to take the train but after realising that it would be a nine hour journey and cost me about £180 I decided to fly for only £99 from Cardiff Airport with Flybe. I’ve only flown once before, eight years ago, and never alone so I was super excited about that and like a child as the plane took off! The flight was great, no delays (thankfully) and altogether a pretty good experience. My audition was for the afternoon session starting at 13:30, the flight landed at 12:00 so I took the Airport Express (£12 return) to the city centre and found the Conservatoire in plenty of time. 

The RCS Audition process has changed this year so this will be different to most other  posts or vlogs you’ve seen. When I arrived I signed in and met the rest of the group I would be auditioning with, there were seven of us and everyone was easy to get along with. We started with a brief tour of the campus; it’s a really nice building with fantastic facilities. Several venues throughout the building and a cosy library with an extensive collection of DVDs and play scripts. 

Following the tour we had a workshop, this was led by the audition panel. I thought that was a excellent way to ease nerves and meant we wouldn’t be going into the audition completely unaware of what to expect. I always like auditions that include a workshop because it gives you a chance to get into the state of mind to audition after a long journey. The workshop involved a few fun group games and exercises where we worked together. It was a good way for us to ‘bond’ in a sense, it made sure there was less of the feeling of competition that you get in some auditions. The panel were friendly and you could see that they wanted to see your best, they weren’t searching for slip ups. 

After the workshop we waited outside the room with two first year BA: Acting students. They were friendly and enthusiastic and we were able to ask all sorts of questions about the auditions, the school, and anything we wanted to know more about. If I needed any more convincing that I love this school, that was it! While we waited to go into our individual auditions and interviews, the current first year acting class came by. There was this really wonderful, comfortable atmosphere. I’ve never experienced that feeling at a drama school audition before so I thought that was fantastic. 

When it was my turn to go in, the panel (which is made up of two people) were friendly and approachable, I was given the choice of which piece I wanted to perform first so I chose my Shakespeare. After performing, the panel redirected my Shakespeare piece. I was asked to perform it as though I was giving a TED talk or a motivational speech at a rally with a huge audience. The redirection worked really well with the piece so I imagine that’s where filling out the form I mentioned earlier came in useful. After the speeches I was asked to get a chair and had a short interview. I don’t think there’s any need to go into the questions but it was a comfortable, somewhat casual interview.

After that, the day is over. You find out whether you’ve been recalled via UCAS Conservatoires, I found out within two days but it could vary. 

I have my RADA Audition coming up next so look out for my post about that. In the mean time, good luck to those of your with auditions coming up, I wish you all the best! 

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Update: Audition Season

It’s audition season again! I’m both increasingly excited and nervous, although nervous is good. Nerves are a reminder of how important this is to me and as long as I don’t let them consume me, I can channel them into my performance.

Like I told you in me previous post (all those months ago) I will be posting about my audition experiences. I don’t know how long it’ll take for the posts to go up since I don’t have a lot of free time, but they will at some point. 

First up, next week I have my audition for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. I’ll be flying to that one because the train will take far more time than I’ll have and costs almost twice as much! I’ve only flown once in my life and that was eight years ago so I’m mildly terrified about the checking in and out and not being late to the audition. Still, I’m excited!

The following week will be my RADA Audition, it’ll be my second year auditioning there so it’s nice to know exactly what to expect. I’m relatively relaxed about this one for that reason.

The week after RADA I will be auditioning at Drama Centre London, this was one that I applied to last year but I wasn’t able to make the audition unfortunately. I did go to a week long workshop there last year (which was absolutely fantastic) so I know what the school looks like and how to find it. 

I have my LAMDA Audition in February because I opted for the Cardiff auditions to reduce travel costs since it’s closer to me. 

Finally, I’m still waiting on two more dates, I’ll try to keep you updated and post my audition experiences on time.

Acting is Everything

I’m back!

I know, I say that a lot. And who am I kidding? I might be back to post regularly but then again I might not, who really knows? Life is full of surprises.

For now, however, I’m back. I applied and auditioned for a few drama schools last year and it was amazing for me to be able to experience the first audition process. I didn’t get a recall of course, but then I wasn’t expecting to in my first year of applying. It didn’t stop me feeling down and somewhat dwelling in self doubt but the important thing is that I overcame that.
I spent several months wondering what I really wanted to do with my life, I knew that following the path of acting would be a massive challenge; even getting into drama school will take time and dedication. A life of acting means fluctuating income, long days, short nights, rejections, and a whole pile of other uncertainties.
I told myself that I didn’t want that. I told myself it wasn’t that important, that I love my job now, I like my circumstances, I love my apartment. Why would I want to move away from that? I had to reflect on that, I had to ask what was it I planned to do instead? Did I intend to stay where I am now forever? Did I see myself still doing my current job in ten years time? Of course not. I’d convinced myself that I was content and that I didn’t need acting but I had no idea what I intended to do instead. There is nothing else as important to me as acting. Don’t get me wrong, I love my current job, I really do; but acting…acting is everything.

So it’s that time of year again, time to prepare for applications, auditions, and everything that goes along with that. I’ve made a start on my UCAS application for two of the schools, as soon as UCAS Conservatoire applications open I’ll do the same there. I’m using every spare moment to work towards it and I’m excited.

I don’t know what the point of this post was… I guess to tell myself and anyone who’s interested that I know what matters to me.

I plan to write up my audition experiences on this blog, I thought of vlogging it but I’m not great at editing and blogging is something I enjoy. Hopefully, if I get round to it, you’ll get to read about my experiences. We shall see.

Drama Workshop Experiences: RADA’s Introduction to Shakespeare

With this new chapter in my life I thought it might be a good idea to blog about some of the major steps I’m taking to get where I need to be, Drama School. There are a lot of blogs and vlogs about the drama school audition experiences but not so many about workshops and short courses so thus begins my blogging about those.

Since I work full time, I can’t go to a whole lot of workshops and short courses, and those that I do go to can’t be longer than a week ,so finding the Saturday Workshops for 16-24 year olds that RADA hold was fantastic! For only £50 you get a one day masterclass in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, what more could I ask for? So I went ahead and booked the only one I could fit into my schedule, ‘Introduction to Shakespeare’, I love Shakespeare so I was really looking forward to this one.

This was the beginning of a crazy busy weekend because I was working all day on the Friday, Friday night I was finishing my cosplay for Cardiff Comic Con on the Sunday, the workshop was on the Saturday, Comic Con was on the Sunday and then I had to be in Cardiff again on Monday for a call as a Supporting Artist… Buuuuut, let’s just focus on the workshop, that’s why you’re here of course.

So, because I was busy on the Friday I had to get to London before 10:00am Saturday Morning, I’d booked the 01:55 National Express which should have got to London at 08:15…but it got to my town two hours late. *Very unhappy Bekah*
I ended up getting to the course an hour late and spent the whole time before it worrying because y’know, it’s RADA, I can’t be late to RADA! Anyhow, the tutor was really great about it, unfortunately I’d missed the first parts where everyone gets to know each other but it didn’t take long to get into the swing of things. It was a small class, maybe fifteen or so people? so it meant that getting to know who everyone is was pretty easy as the workshop went on.

The first part (from when I got there anyway) was to learn the rhythm of Shakespeare, we needed to master the speed and the iambic pentameter of his work. This mostly involved a lot of chanting sonnets to force the rhythm which will come more naturally once it’s been established. We then went through the sonnets we were given and told to find any alliteration, oxymorons, or powerful imagery and to create a motion to go along with those things.

The atmosphere was brilliant, on a usual day group exercises or anything that involves being required to stand out would be terrifying to me…but somehow when it’s related to drama it becomes second nature to me. For someone that’s used to being so introverted and insular this was an entirely new experience for me.

The next part of the workshop had us associating a verb with each section of the sonnet, it’s such a simple idea that it seems strange to me that it wasn’t just entirely obvious to me already. This is a part of the workshop that has been immediately helpful to me now that I’m working on my monologues for auditions. I think out of everything I learned that day, this was the most practically helpful piece of information.

After a lunch break we came back and had a short exercise that involved throwing tennis balls at each other as a reflex exercise because with Shakespeare you need to think fast and work as a team in order to carry the piece.

The final part of the workshop was the most important to me in how it made me feel. We were separated into boy/girl partnerships and given a section of a play. Myself and the guy I was with were given a part of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ Act II Scene 1, which I’m ashamed to say I haven’t actually read yet (but don’t you worry, it’s next on my list). We were to go through this together working with all the knowledge and techniques we’d learned that day and then perform it to the class where we were given direction.

The reason I say that this was important to me, is because I have never been so utterly at ease and comfortable being asked to do something in front of a class, but this…I reveled in it! This workshop was a turning point for me, up until it there was a tiny little niggling in the back of my mind “What if I can’t perform in front of people? What if I don’t enjoy drama classes as much as I think I do?” but my overwhelming thought when I finished this workshop is that I need to do this. I want to learn more about drama and acting every day. I absolutely, 100%, need to be at drama school.

Anyway, that was that, I got lost in London trying to find my way back to the National Express and almost missed my bus home but I got there in the nick of time and got home in time for the rest of my busy weekend. Almost a month on I am still reveling in the experience… Two weeks after the workshop I was emailed with an invitation to attend a free RADA workshop which I leaped at the opportunity to participate in so I’ll be going to that in two weeks time, and I’ve booked another one for two weeks after that. It’ll be a significantly less busy weekend though, I’ll take this one easy and go up the night before.

All in all, I would recommend the RADA Saturday workshops to anyone aged between 16-24 and has an interest in Drama. I learned so much about drama, Shakespeare, and myself.

I hope to keep posting about workshops, auditions, and any other steps I take towards getting into drama school.

10 Places You Should Visit in Wales

Sometimes you just need to notice the things around you.
I’ve lived in Wales for most of my life but I’ve never really paid attention to the beauty of this country. I’m surrounded by things I take for granted, beautiful mountains,  enchanting valleys, phenomenal waterfalls…

My family decided to road trip around Wales and take in some of the wonderful sights that we’ve taken for granted, fantastic places that I wanted to share with you.

So from South Wales to North Wales, here are 10 places that are absolutely worth visiting… Continue reading

The Beginning of Me

life isn't about finding yourself life is about creating yourself george burnard shawFor a long time I’ve just sat, waiting… Waiting for what? I don’t know… for my life to begin? I think that’s the problem, it’s easy to say “Maybe someday…”, or “I wish…”, or “When I’m ready…”, without really knowing what the goal is.

I recently read this excellent post about the problem with waiting… Although it’s not the reason I changed my attitude, it is still very relevant to my post.

I’m twenty two years old, I still live with my parents, and I’ll admit, I find that embarrassing sometimes… It feels like I’m not going anywhere, like I’m hanging around the house with no plans. The latter was true, I didn’t have any plans, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.
People from the outside looking in could see twenty two year old me holding down a good part-time job in retail, running three small businesses alone and sharing an Etsy shop, and they would say “Look at you, you’ve got it all worked out, you know what you’re doing with yourself.” but they’d be wrong, my part-time job in retail is a means to an end, my three elements of Masterpiece Artistry (Face Painting, MUA, Design) were just placeholders, and my Etsy shop, Amaranth Alchemy, is a hobby. Growing up, all I wanted was to get married, have kids and be a stay-at-home mother. That’s it, simple, no catches – that was my life plan up until eighteen or nineteen… I’ve felt that that is no longer the case for a few years now, I’ve felt at a loose end, having my own family was no longer the only thing I wanted to do with my life. It’s still something I want, but I wanted more I just didn’t know what.
In January this year, my younger brother applied for a mission call to serve as a Missionary of our church, he received his call in April and prepared to leave. Everyone was talking about it, people were donating to the cause, they were so proud, don’t get me wrong, I am so proud of him! But I was also full of envy, not because I wanted to serve a mission – I don’t – but because he was actually doing something with his life while I was still living at home with no plans to move forward.

It was during this time that I was at work putting away stock and I was thinking (Don’t you know? All the best ideas come at work!), I was trying to work out what I wanted and where I wanted to be in the future and it struck me, I want to act. Previous acting experience aside, everything I’ve wanted to do has always been about entertaining people and working in the media.
My favourite subject at school was Art, I had a wonderful teacher who encouraged me (and still does) to follow my dreams. During my A Levels I developed a fascination with makeup and prosthetics which I tried my hand at, and I was good at it. Lots of people encouraged me to get trained in prosthetics and makeup and work on television shows such as ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ and the like, shows that I truly love and really would be honoured to be involved in, but that wasn’t me. TV – yes, absolutely! But behind the scenes on makeup? No. In my own mind I had always felt that in order to realistically get on television, film, or stage I would have to be behind the scenes so I pursued makeup and prosthetics and made a half-hearted attempt at building a CV for that, but I realised that it wasn’t what I wanted.
Growing up, actors had always been just out of reach, it was something that small children would say they want to be when they grow up, among princesses, astronauts, and ballerinas, it was an unachievable dream. A childish fantasy. It was something that if you wanted to do as an adult, you would have had to be acting since you were three. A small part of me still worries that is the case but still, I will persevere…

I made a goal. I thought about where I want to be in five years and I wrote a plan. I’d never been able to answer that question before,  the one about “And where do you see yourself in five years?”, and now I can, that is an incredibly empowering thing. I would encourage everyone to make a five year plan.

I decided that I can’t have been the only person to have decided as an adult that I want to be an actor, so I did a lot of research and decided that I will apply to Drama School. I will spend at least a year before hand (starting now) gaining experience in the field and participating in short courses and workshops.
Some of you may know from social media that I have recently closed down all elements of Masterpiece Artistry. This is not a sad thing for me, it is a wonderful thing. It is the end of an era and the beginning of my life. I have a plan now, one that has everything organised, where I want to be  and how I’m going to get there. This is it, the beginning of me.

So don’t worry about me, don’t be concerned that I’ve moved on from things I was doing in the past. I did it for me, I did it because I want to.

I will always, unapologetically, aim high. you are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream cslewis

Recipe: Healthy Butternut Squash Soup

It’s been a while… again… I promise, I’ll start posting more often soon!

Today’s post is a recipe that has quickly become an autumn/winter favourite for me, and I hope it does for you! Not only is this butternut squash soup delicious and filling, but it’s healthy at only 133 calories too!

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Serves: 6

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories: 133

Ingredients:

1 Large Butternut Squash (or 2 small)
1 Onion
2 Carrots
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Vegetable Stock Cubes
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
Optional: 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder

Method:

1. Peel and cube the squash, slice the carrots, and dice the onion.
2. Make up the stock with 5 cups of boiling water.
3. Heat up the oil in a large pot and begin cooking the onion and carrots. Cook until soft (about 5 minutes).
4. Add the squash, stock, salt, pepper, and cumin powder if using.
5. Cover the pot and bring to the boil.
6. Turn the heat down and simmer on a medium heat for 30 minutes or until the squash is tender.
7. Using a hand blender (immersion blender) blend the soup to a smooth consistency.
8. Serve with warm bread rolls for a rustic touch. Enjoy.

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Short Story Review: Soul of the Universe

Soul of the Universe is a music-inspired anthology from ‘The Anthology Club’, the writing in this collection will captivate you, it will pervade your senses and it will absolutely enchant you.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ~ Plato

SotU72logoPlato said “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything”. In this book you will find a varied selection of haunting, thrilling, surprising tales from some of the most talented independent authors around. Although the tales differ wildly, they do have one thing in common: music. Each story was inspired by a particular song, which is explained briefly in each instance by the author.
Enjoy these tales. They will leave you with a song in your heart and a smile on your face.”
~Goodreads.com

WHAT DID I THINK?

Soul of the Universe is a collection of stunning short stories that can leave you smiling, crying or just in a state of wonder. Each story in this was so very different that I want to speak about each author separately.

“”The hash looked familiar so, on a hunch, I tried an old key I used to use a long time ago. A very long time ago.”
“You mean…”
“Yeah. It’s from Ophania.”” ~ Michael S. Manz (To Ride the Wind Dancing)

Michael S. Manz:
‘To Ride the Wind Dancing’
This story from Manz is loosely inspired by Led Zeppelin’s “Achilles Last Stand”, his writing compels and brings you into his imagined futuristic world. Science fiction elements are spoken of as though you know what they are which only adds to the reader feeling a sense of involvement with the characters. The dialogue is dynamic, portraying relationships between the characters perfectly, and the technology used is wonderful to read of.
I loved reading ‘To Ride the Wind Dancing’ and I loved that the ending was a beginning…

Michael Wombat:
‘Blood on the Ground’ and ‘Moth Girl vs. The Bats’
Having read Wombat’s ‘Moth Girl vs. The Bats’ before I am already a fan of his Steampunk work and was excited to read what he had in store for me next.

“Out of the moonlight they sped in their thousands, swift as death, razor wings glittering in the pale glow of the Wolf Moon.” ~ Michael Wombat (Moth Girl vs. The Bats)

‘Blood on the Ground’ is an unexpected Western inspired by the Rex Wells version of ‘Blood on the Saddle’. Wombat writes with wonderful description conjuring fantastic images in the reader’s mind pulling you deeper into the story. ‘Blood on the Ground’ often switches between the past and present which is difficult to do well but Wombat accomplishes this with ease allowing for a smooth transition between scenes leaving you excited for more.
‘Moth Girl vs. The Bats’, which you can buy as a standalone on Amazon, is a fantastic steampunk adventure with a feisty protagonist inspired by ‘Start As We Mean To Go On’ by Thea Gilmore. It is full to the brim with vivid imagery and stunning description, bringing wonderful mechanical creations bringing his steampunk world to life in your mind.

Michael A. Walker:
‘Stella’ and ‘Light On’

“The skin on her face was embellished with a multitude of colorful blemishes, pock marks,  and creases that bore evidence of stories that begged to be told.” ~ Michael A. Walker (Stella)

Walker’s writing is emotionally stimulating, both ‘Stella’ and ‘Light On’ left me with tears running down my face. Now that isn’t to say that these stories will leave you depressed and deflated, but if you’re anything like me, they will make you cry.
Stella is inspired by ‘Just Breathe’ written by Eddie Vedder and originally performed by Pearl Jam. This story is about dementia and the relationship growing between Stella and her husband’s nurse, Vera, full of truly stunning prose. Walker uses certain sentences and words to connect people and times allowing you to notice these small things and feel something more as you read.
Light On is inspired by ‘Light On’ performed by David Cook (and I’d like to thank Michael Walker for introducing me to this song, I love it!) This story also gives you an emotional hit, just like in Stella; Walker uses description to his advantage helping the reader to feel emotionally involved with the characters.
I would have to single out Michael Walker’s stories as my favourites in the anthology. (Though I loved every story in it.)

Marissa Ames:
Darrion

“In another era, under another king’s reign, Lana would have rejoiced that Darrion had inherited his father’s gift. Now she just wanted to steal him away while he still had a childhood left.” ~ Marissa Ames (Darrion)

Darrion is actually based in the world of her debut novel ‘Minstrel’ which I have been planning on reading and certainly will after reading this stunning sample of her work. This story is inspired by ‘Village Lanterne’ by Blackmore’s Night. Right from the offset of Darrion I could see I was going to love it, this medieval, magical story is full of descriptive imagery and wonder. Ames’ characters are full of depth making you really feel for them, you want them to succeed. Darrion leaves me looking forward to reading Minstrel.

WHAT IS MY RATING?

Soul of the Universe gets all five stars from me. This anthology has such variety that it can appeal to many different people, from fans of westerns or Steampunk, to science fiction or fantasy, there really is something for everyone.

I would recommend this anthology to young adults and adults. Some of the stories have hard hitting storylines.
If you enjoyed Burn by Daniel Swensen or Minstrel by Marissa Ames, you’ll enjoy this anthology.

5stars

WHERE CAN YOU GET IT?

Soul of the Universe is available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00IYP4ATK

You can also find it on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/418767

If you’re on Goodreads you can find the book to add to your ‘to read’ list here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21422051-soul-of-the-universe

If you want to find out more about The Anthology Club visit http://anthologyclub.com

Visit them on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/anthologyclub

Disclaimer: I was sent an ARC* of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions in this review are completely honest, I would not lie to my readers.

*ARC is an Advance Reader’s Copy. This means I was sent a copy of this book prior to its release.

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Film Review: Frozen (2013)

I’m afraid I don’t have a book review for you this week because I’ve been beta-reading a book that I can’t write about. So you get to tell me what you want to read about on Saturday!

Anyhow, I decided to give you a new film review to read about. I went to see Frozen with my sister on the weekend and I absolutely loved it. I’d heard from a lot of people that it was fantastic but I really didn’t know what to think. Turns out I loved it, as I am writing this ‘Let it Go’ is playing in my head.

“Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care
what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway.”

Frozen-movie-poster

“Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna’s sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.”

~IMDb

WHAT DID I THINK?

Frozen is a wonderful new Disney film made in the vein of the West-End show Wicked and is truly wonderful. Packed into 1 hour and 42 minutes, this movie gives you a multitude of relationships, multi-faceted, well built characters, a lovable snowman and an exciting, liberating story-line. I’m not one for the ‘this-is-such-a-great-feminist-movie’ approach so I’m not going to give you all that. This review is purely based on how much I loved it.

Anna_FrozenThe character of Princess Anna is wonderfully created, she is fun and excitable and desperate for love. She has lived in a castle with her sister for so long that she just longs to get out and find a husband and she is so very believable.

Queen Elsa, on the other hand, reminds me of myself. She keeps herself hidden “conceal, don’t feel, don’t let it show” and is truly scared of letting people in. I was able to empathize with Elsa, she almost is me but with a little extra magic; that just added an extra triumph to her story.Frozen-Il-regno-di-ghiaccio-nuovo-trailer-con-Elsa-e-4-character-poster-41

There are so many other fantastic  characters in Frozen but I won’t spoil the film (not that that’s possible) by telling all. Frozen is an exciting story of hope and love, and I loved it so much I watched it twice and would watch it again in a heartbeat.

The music in Frozen is absolutely wonderful, I’ve been listening to tracks on Youtube every day since watching the movie! Every song has a fantastic feeling to it, giving you the opportunity to feel the emotions of the characters. I wasn’t a fan of ‘Fixer-Upper’ though, it’s a good song that is very catchy but just not really my ‘thing’.

In all, Frozen was a wonderful film and I wouldn’t hesitate to watch it again! (Do you think the cinema would let me in to the KidsAM viewing at the age of 20..?)

(Trivia: The characters of Hans, Kristof, Anna and Sven are all named after Hans Christian Andersen. Say the names quickly in sequence and hear the similarity.)

WHAT IS MY RATING?

I would give Frozen a whopping five stars. This is an exciting film suitable for all ages and will leave you in a fantastic mood.

I would recommend this to all ages, honestly, don’t write it off as ‘just a kids film’, it really is great for all ages!

Age Rating: PG

pgrating

If you enjoyed watching Tangled (2010) or Wicked (West End Show) you will love this!

5stars

WHERE CAN YOU GET IT?

Frozen is not yet available to buy, but you can see it in your local cinema. (Unless your local cinema isn’t showing it anymore, like mine…)

I believe the DVD will be available to buy around April/May time.

You can find out more about Frozen here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2294629/

Watch the trailer here:

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