Helen Mirren expressed her dismay as it becomes more and more difficult for talented actors to find the necessary funding for them to train at the best Drama Schools. In the past myself and friends have been approached by people who’ve been accepted at Drama School and have needed help to survive while they’re there. We’ve done our best but what we can give is a drop in the ocean compared to what’s needed. Some of the best Drama Schools don’t allow people to take on professional jobs while they’re training. While I understand the necessity for total commitment to the training, shouldn’t there be some arrangement made so that blocks of time can be used for working in the profession? Patsy Farran who’s in the cast of Blythe Spirit is a student at RADA who’s been given a “sabbatical”. There are bursaries available for Drama School training and for classes at the Actors Centre and the Actors Guild, but perhaps the time has come for a creation of a national pool fund. If this doesn’t happen we may find ourselves in the situation where raw creative talent goes to waste – and the whole of the industry suffers.
I went to the recent Perform Exhibition and the National Youth Theatre had a strong presence. They told me about Heider Ali, who’s now a successful actor in his own right and about their 9 month course Playing Up – Heider Ali started on this course. This sounds great. There was no one at the Spotlight stand when I was there but the action on the stage at the adjacent Moveit exhibition was electric and there was so much more energy in the dance, so maybe they were taking a peek.