Published on 26/03/21
Recently Year 9 Alison alongside other members of the Young Actors Company, a collection of acting groups for up to 18 year olds, spoke to the BBC about the recently pledged £400m for the struggling arts sector.
We wanted to talk more to Alison about her passion for acting and theatre and how the pandemic has affected her acting group.
What is the Young Actors Company?
The Young Actors Company is collection of acting groups for up to 18 year olds. We learn acting from trained teachers and directors who have worked in the industry professionally. It’s really fun and interesting, and has a really high standard of teaching, as well as a great atmosphere. I wanted to join because I really love acting, and I didn’t want a group that did singing and dancing as well as I love acting most.
We learn all kinds of different techniques and skills. For example, my director is a fight scene director, and he taught us how to use broadswords on stage! We have also done accent work and lots of improv. It’s really great being able to learn so many skills in one place from an experienced director.
How did COVID impact the group?
We couldn’t perform our 2020 production at all. It was really annoying because we had spent a good eight months every Saturday (except holidays) rehearsing, and we actually found out we couldn’t do it the week before we would have performed. For the two most recent lockdowns we have had online lessons which have actually worked really well, but obviously nowhere near as good as in the room.
How have drama lessons at school helped to develop your skills?
At school, drama lessons are good because we do a wide range of things, like mime and foley sound. Also, in lockdown the drama department was really good and we got to make puppet shows and silent movies!
When asked about the importance of both extra-curricular drama groups, such as the Young Actors Company, and school lessons Curriculum Leader of Drama and Theatre Helene Barrell commented:
"Through active participation in Drama lessons and activities, students learn how to collaborate as part of a team, to communicate their ideas and to listen to the ideas of others. They gain self-confidence as contributors and as communicators. Through their exploration of texts and topics and by playing a wide variety of roles they develop their ability to view the world from different viewpoints. Drama students are observant, empathetic and creative.
Now, more than ever, after a long period of isolation and introspection, what our young people need more than anything is opportunities to take part in fun, creative and collaborative projects. Making theatre is the ultimate group activity that gives students the opportunity to work towards an end goal as part of a team of like-minded individuals."