I hope everyone is getting on okay, I am hoping this will be the last blog post I write having not seen anyone and in full on lockdown. However, saying this I have been doing lots of stuff and have plenty of news and things to talk about. This is mostly due to The Mono Box, Trinity Laban and Bard City.
Mono – Makers Month
Over the month of May, the Monobox has been doing a month of free or £5 workshops and I jumped at the chance. (Please note a couple of these workshops were full price and very very worth it) They have always been a key part of my training outside of school and giving people so much to do over the course of this lockdown.
Coffee Morning with Vanessa Kirby
I absolutely adored this coffee morning where we were able to have a Q + A with an actress whom I greatly admire and she spoke so well about her journey towards being an actress and her practice towards characters. I actually felt like we were incredibly similar in the way that we think and approach things because, like me, she faced a lot of rejection and didnt get into drama school and didnt have anyone to give her a leg up into the industry which has made her so resilient and better for it. I left this coffee morning feeling very inspired.
Coffee Morning with Denise Gough
This Q+A was so inspiring as Denise has had a very difficult life in the approach to acting where she was homeless in london during her teenage years. She has gone on to create such amazing theatre and now wants to move into directing. She spoke about how sometimes things just happened for a reason and if you don’t get the part then that part wasnt meant for you and then when you get the part it is because you are that character and the only person that could truly play them. She also spoke about how she just used to say that she was going to be an actor to herself even when she was homeless and it looked impossible she just believed it so much that it then manifested. She made me re-evaluate my approach to self belief and whether me being overly cautious about seeming egotistical and overconfident is actually helping anybody or just a waste of time.
Coffee Morning with Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin
This Coffee Morning was really great as both Josh and Emma star in The Crown but arrived there through very different paths. Hearing both of these stories and advice from each gave real comprohensive advice to finding an agent and jobs but also was reasurring that there is no right or wrong when persuing this career.
Whats Being Said with Tom Wright
This was a workshop looking at how to write dialogue in plays. This was a very interesting workshop as that is something I haven’t got much experience with hence the monologue play. There was lots of useful techniques in this workshop and he gave us great resources to study but I think the main thing I have learnt from this workshop is that just because I may not write like other people do or always follow the rules laid out in workshops like this doesn’t mean that my writing is wrong, it just is my own style.
Self Taping and Screen Acting with Sarah Jayne Butler
This was an INCREDIBLE workshop, it was three hours long and despite being on Zoom was very practical. We had to send in a self tape prior to the workshop which I had my friend Jack help me film via zoom. We then spent three hours learning how to actually do a Self tape and really stand out in the inbox of a casting director before leaving the sessions and sending in yet another self tape which Sarah would then give us feedback on. I could definitly see a difference between my first and second self tapes and the feedback I recieved was so helpful and constructive but also really positive and kind and the whole experience made me feel very validated as a straight actor as well as a musical theatre actress. (not that there is really any difference except for the perception of other people)
Intersectionality, Identity and Collaboration with Kane Husbands
This was a really interesting hour where we just had a discussion about identity in the industry and how we can improve the industry through collaboration and how to make sure everyones stories are told. We spoke about what we want the industry to look like in ten years and how we as artists can bring those changes about.
Coffee Morning with Joan and Polly
Joan and Polly run The Monobox and have facilitated all of these amazing workshops online and all the ones I have attended in previous years at their actual studio. Joan, I also feel, was a huge part of me getting into drama school as I went to a monologue workshop with her before my auditions last year and she really helped me tweak my monologue and after working with her I starting getting offers and recalls. I think also she just told me I was good and after a year and a half of auditions where the panel dont look up from their papers it just boosted me.
ANYWAY, it was so great to hear the origin of The Monobox and how these two women have carved their way through the industry. They are just fountains of wisdom and it was a really great hour and a bit to speak to these women who inspire me so much.
I also had some opportunities this month due to sheer luck but they have been incredibly valuable and I’m hoping it will keep on coming!
Screenwriting with Maddy Anholt
I actually won this 5 hour workshop on Instagram! I entered her competition under her instagram post and it became the first competition I have ever won!
This workshop was incredible, I don’t know how Maddy spoke so concisley and clearly for FIVE HOURS. We covered everything from how to pitch something you have written for screen, how to start writing something for screen, how to write for a radio play and all about the financial side of the career. We even covered how to take something to the Edinburgh Fringe which was extrememly useful. She filled my head with terminology and know-how and I feel very equipt to know that there may come a time in the future where I want to write for screen or having something to pitch and i will know exactly how to do it.
She also sent us a dozen incredible resouces and templates to help her explain which we will have forever to refer to. It was the best prize I could have ever won. Maddy was also just so inspiring she has this unapologetic tenacity where she is just infectious. She is clearly an incredible creative but also a great business woman.
One on One with Morgan Lloyd Malcolm
This was a real treat. Through the initiative Burn Bright which is for female playwrights in the industry I was able to book a time bank of 30 minutes with a playwright. Last year, I took mum to see a play called Emilia in London and it was so incredible. We both left the theatre awe stuck at the incredibly funny, heartfelt and powerful piece of theatre we had witnessed. This was written by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm.
The half an hour spent with Morgan was so valuable to me and it is an experience I will treasure forever. I had just come out of a workshop where my work had been used as an example of what not to do and my confidence had taken a hit as a writer. As i have never had any performance of my play or had it published I have never had any reassurance that I am actually good at writing so to have someone tell me I was doing it wrong made me really think that maybe i was doing it wrong.
As I was making my way through my carefully thought out list of questions for Morgan she told me that your play has to say something and my face must have fallen and I explained to her how after a workshop I felt like mine was very passive and didn’t say anything. After hearing all about what was said and how I was used as an example and then a breif summary of the play I have written she was outraged. She told me I seemed to be on to something great and just because my play doesn’t burn bras or get in your face about a certain issue doesnt mean it isnt full of heart and say something.
Morgan has since been DM’ing me with schemes I can get involved with as a writer and has just been on my side.
Corona Days Play Group
My play is also going to be part of the Corona Days Play Group where to a small group of invited friends the play will be performed in a read through on zoom by three professional actresses. This is a great opportunity for me to get feedback on the play and also to get exposure as a writer. I am very grateful and excited for this opportunity.
I have continued to do the weekly workshops with Owen Horsely examining Shakespeare Speeches and pieces. I really love the way he explains stuff and after working with him on Shakespeare in A Week I just want to keep learning Shakespeare from him. There has been different themes every week and we have covered so many speeches and scenes from Shakespeare Plays that I can already feel my Shakespeare Brain expanding.
I am coming to the end of my first year at Trinity Laban which hasn’t quite gone to plan but I consider myself in the best year to have this happen in. The third years have done incredibly well securing agents and I am sure will go on to have great careers despite this mess. This summer term I was supposed to have my Pre 1965 Musicals Showcase which we are still doing but over zoom. This is not something that has been easy and has given me plenty of worry and anxiety but my class has really risen to the challenge and im sure the end result will be great. The team have also done a great job putting it together and I am grateful to them for even giving us something to do as they could have easily said that we wouldnt be doing anything.
For showcase I am in a group number of Six Months Out of Every Year from Damn Yankees which is very female heavy and shows all us lovely ladies off! Of course the lads do a great job in this number too but I have really loved hearing all the girls solo lines. This song is full of character and I cant wait to see how everyone has staged theirs because everyone is very creative.
We have all been given a solo to work on, I have been given That’ll Show Him from Funny Thing That Happened on The Way to The Forum which is a soprano song. Shock Horror ! Yep, there has been a real change to my voice since starting in september and I feel incredibly proud of myself that I have defied the people who said that I ‘can’t sing that song as it’s too high’ or told me at such a young age that I had the voice of a bloke. I have absolutely smashed those limitations out of the park, so much so that my final year showcase song is a legit soprano number. Singing has been the biggest obstacle during my time at drama school. I arrived in September and found myself miles behind everyone else in terms of technique and was thrown in at the deep end doing classical English Art Songs and all the things I have would have never attempted before. I did not take to it like a duck to water and I had to endure standing up in Acting through Song and accepting that I was going to be a worse than the rest and relying heavily on my Acting to help me survive the class. There was a lot of frustrations, small break throughs before falling a few steps back until I truly managed to grasp the new task and I used to dread my singing lessons and felt like the way I have sung my whole life, the voice that sounds like ME was wrong and something that I shouldn’t do. I don’t feel like that anymore but I still have a long way to go.
Anyway, long story short my first year at Trinity Laban has been incredibly difficult, there were many tears, but incredibly rewarding and I have learnt so much from my teachers and classmates and cant wait to see them all in September to do it all over again.