Monday, 16 December 2013

Moving forwards

There's a truism that we must adapt to survive (or perhaps a scientific fact as my Biology student son might advise) - and it's no different in theatre schools.

We started Best nearly 16 years ago using the model that was then (and still is now) prevalent amongst art-time / weekend theatre schools - an hour of acting, singing and dancing. It's a model that has worked well for us for a long time but if you simply sit back and say ' there it is' there's a danger that such complacency can lead to inertia.

To be honest, we've always tried to find new things to move Best onwards - youth theatre, adults' classes and even toddlers classes, but from time to time you need to bring in some radical change, which is what we've been doing for the past year.

Launching Best School of Acting was a natural, even overdue, step. Focusing purely on acting, and aimed specifically at those who had already made the decision that they wanted to be the best actor they could be, we have mirrored the classes of a 'full time' drama school, to give the students a real taste of what life is like. In fact I've been taken back to my old drama school days at (the now merged into Central) Webber Douglas by some of the exercises - it all makes me want to act again!

We seem to have struck a chord with a fantastic group of young actors, some of whom are already now auditioning for full-time drama schools, and we even have a first success at Tring Park (well done FH!)

And now we have established a link with an agency. This has require a real shift in thinking from us as it's something we hold strong views on. But we have to accept that the world is changing rapidly. Children are growing up with all kinds of choices that weren't available 10 or 15 years ago and our approach has to adapt to reflect this. So our chosen agency, Daisy and Dukes, we think stands for many of the values through which we operate.

Next term we launch a class specifically for those considering auditions, or preparing speeches for exams (whether in school or LAMDA).

And there will be watch this space.

The same founding principle holds firm though - it must be FUN!