Earlier this year, I took part in one of City Academy‘s 12-week acting courses.
When I started the course the only thing I knew for certain was, in 12 weeks time, I’d be performing on stage at Sadler’s Wells and the public would be paying to see me…
Our rehearsal room was in Finsbury Town Hall. It was pretty basic with nothing but a few chairs and tables to keep us company. There were 11 of us in the class: a City entrepreneur, a charity CEO, a handful of students, a barman, a film actress (we didn’t know this until much later when we rushed to a laptop to see her in action) and one or two ex-actors like myself looking for a creative outlet.
Our motley crew had two things in common: firstly, we all had a certain desire to perform on stage and secondly we realised that Sadler’s Wells had reserved two two-hour time slots for our performances in 12 weeks’ time. No pressure then.
We met once a week for 12 weeks. In the first five weeks, we learnt the vocal, physical and emotional necessities of a theatrical performance. In week six, we were put in pairs and given a script. Having the scripts enabled us to put into practise what we’d learnt, using words by Shakespeare and Euripides as well modern writers such as Durang and Pinter.
After last-minute tweaking and script-learning (some left it very late!) friends, family and the general public were given the call to attend our performance at Sadler’s Wells in Islington. From the safety of the dark backstage we 11 amateurs stepped out under the warm lights of the London stage. Under the new-found safety of our characters we fought and glared, screamed and stared, laughed, jumped, broke down and fell in love all before our (mostly) captive audience.
Throughout the course we had many laughs, many disagreements and many pints in the local pub after each lesson. I met some fantastic people. Our course co-ordinator, Cat Clancy (Head of Acting at City Academy) struck the perfect balance between educating us and giving us the freedom to make our own creative choices. I thank her and strongly recommend you take a look at the courses City Academy has on offer. Options range from one evening or 2-3 days, up to six, eight, 10 or 12 weeks. If acting isn’t your game they have salsa, tap dancing, singing, bollywood, improvisation and even musical theatre courses. Visit www.city-academy.com
West End: watch out!