RADA’s MA Theatre Lab provides performance students with the opportunity to re-examine and broaden their skills in an experimental and collaborative environment. The intensive year-long course includes a range of masterclasses and workshops from guest teachers and practitioners. MA Theatre Lab student Konstantinos Symsiris blogs about a recent workshop led by Oleg Mirochnikov on the Vakhtangov tradition – a school of acting pioneered by Yevgeny Vakhtangov, with focus on spontaneity and transformation.
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We are pleased to be able to share our new .Short Courses for 2017 with you, and also wanted to share some of the feedback we have received.
Young Actors Summer School & Shakespeare Summer School
I am currently studying Drama and Theatre Practice at the University of Hull. I've been acting for the majority of my life in school productions, young people’s theatre and musical theatre. In summer 2014 and 2015 I was fortunate to be able to attend the RADA Young Actors Summer School. Each year we spent four fantastic weeks learning what it was like to train as an actor at RADA, working on subjects as diverse as stage fighting, dance, vocal technique, singing, devising theatre and Shakespeare. I met loads of people from all over the world, all with their own experiences and ideas and all of us with a huge love of theatre.
The courses made me realise that this is what I want to do with my life – to act! And to study at a world-renowned school. I didn’t think it could be any better: the staff and senior students who taught and mentored us were kind and collaborative, but focused. They made the weeks just fly by, leaving us wanting more.
In april this year RADA's MA Theatre Lab students travelled to Greece to perform their devised ensemble production of Women Of Troy at the International Youth Festival of Ancient Drama in Ancient Messene, and at the Municipal Theatre of Kalamata. Hadleigh Harrison documented the experience throughout.
It doesn't feel like only yesterday we were rehearsing the final touches of Women of Troy in a basement in London. Grey London. Cold and rainy London. Having put in a tremendous amount of effort all last week re-jigging, re-working, scrapping and starting again – all part of the artistic process – our travel-worn spirits were lifted by the sight of the Taygetus mountain range, azure skies and beating sun of southern Greece! We had taken on some generous feedback as we worked on our Women of Troy within the time constraints; having laid down the foundations of the previous weeks’ work, we had by now 'killed our babies' (a very Greek tragedy concept, surely) by sacrificing our favourite moments over and over again. The general consensus is that we now have a show on our hands – one that is indisputably ours, and one we feel proud to show the people of Messini and Kalamata.
Time flies at RADA. Reflecting on our last set of shows (Dying For It, No One Sees The Video and The Bright and Bold Design) that is one thing I have discovered. It seems like only a week ago that we were having our induction and now we are already on our second set of shows!
At RADA there are two methods of teaching the Technical Theatre and Stage Management Course; rotation and linear. For rotation teaching we are divided into five small groups, each working in alternating departments which are Scenic Construction, Stagecraft, Lighting and Sound, Props and Wardrobe and Scenic Art.
In linear teaching there are a different four groups for lectures in other aspects of Technical Theatre such as Stage Management, Technical Drawing and Design. It is the rotation groups that determine our roles for the RADA shows.
Surprisingly my first week at RADA wasn’t as terrifying as I envisaged. In the lead up to my induction day all I really thought about was the outstanding reputation of RADA, the intense training programme – but I prepared myself for this. I realised at the last minute that the thing that I hadn’t thought about and really worried me was I hadn’t for one second contemplated what it would be like to meet my fellow students. Would they be friendly? Would they already have a long history of experience in theatre production?
It was a great experience to share the project after all that work; it really was a project that could have gone a thousand different ways!
Somewhere in the rehearsal process, I had almost forgotten that we would be doing it in front of an audience, so when the opening night finally came, it was a really weird feeling. I loved seeing how the piece changed every time we performed, depending on the audience and the energy and togetherness of the company. One evening for example, Matthew was doing one of his scenes where he screams at the audience and a woman stood up and screamed back! It was fantastic! It’s amazing to be a part of a piece that invokes rebellion in the audience.
The company sometimes had good and bad days as well. We had days where we were all loving and happy and in tears because we knew we would all miss each other so much, and then we had days where we were fighting like cats and dogs and just wanted to get on with it so we could go home to bed.