A high spot of last week was the visit to Simon Annand’s exhibition of actor-portrait photographs at the Idea Generation Gallery in Shoreditch. If you’ve already seen his book “The Half”, then you will know that this man has an extraordinary talent, and in my view it’s entirely right to call him the Cartier-Bresson of British theatre. The Shoreditch show includes new pictures, and many that weren’t either in the book or last year’s V & A exhibition.
A great new image is of our ex-RADA student Bertie Carvel in the process of preparing for his hugely celebrated performance as Miss Trunchbull in “Matilda”. At RADA I directed Bertie in a high-speed, high-octane version of a Feydeau farce, which perhaps hasn’t been without some relevance to his subsequent career! Also at the private view it was grand to run into another terrific ex-student Fenella Woolgar, whom I’d caught recently playing – superbly – Edith Wharton on BBC Radio 4. You can get information about the exhibition at: gallery.ideageneration.co.uk/
One of the elements as yet missing from our www.teachyourselfacting.com website is information about training for the technical side of theatre. I must sort that out: meanwhile my daughter’s boyfriend is keen on learning the craft of carpentry, and on Friday I took him along to RADA to meet Neil Fraser, the Director of Technical Training and Mark Tweed, the Head of Scenic Construction. They were wonderfully helpful and are actively recruiting for their specialist technical courses, which include one on scenic construction. They showed us around the Academy’s technical facilities, and I could see my young companion’s eyes widening at the state-of-the-art, well-equipped workshops, and the resources of the Vanbrugh Theatre.
Having been one of the team involved in RADA’s Lottery-funded re-build during my time as Vice Principal, it was great to see the tech departments functioning so brilliantly. The specialist courses have mis-leading titles – they are called “post-graduate” courses but in fact you don’t need to have done a previous degree. You simply have to demonstrate that you have appropriate experience in, and aptitude for, the skill you wish to develop. Here’s the link:
And so, yesterday, to the Performance Rooms at the Victoria and Albert Museum, with American students from NYU – always worth a visit, there always seems to be something I haven’t noticed before. It covers all kinds of performance, not just drama. There’s a film clip of the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park, the legendary concert just a week after Brian Jones had died. One of those white-blob faces in the huge, huge crowd is me…
RADA grad and TYA mentor EDWARD BENNETT and I met up last night to discuss two seminars about Getting into Drama School we’ll be giving at the PERFORM 2012 event at Olympia at 2.30 on Friday the 9th and 10.30a.m. on Saturday March 10th. If you want to get into drama school – or you have students who want to get into drama school, please come along and say Hello. We’ll have answers to ALL your questions!
Meanwhile, I’m off to the Barbican to see Cheek By Jowl perform “Tis Pity She’s a Whore.” Watch this space…