What can I do with my drama school training?
What can I do with my drama school training…?
Whether you are reaching the end of your drama school training and will be graduating this summer, or you have just accepted your place for September and are preparing to start your journey, wondering what to do with the skills you learn and develop during your training is only natural.
To help you, we have put together some tips on the different ways you can act, make, move and collaborate after you graduate…
ACTING IN A TOURING PRODUCTION
Your time at Fourth Monkey is intended to prepare you for life as a performer – you can expect to graduate equipped with the skills you need to survive and stand out for all the right reasons, plus ability to create your own opportunities, collaborate with others and grow as an actor.
One option is a role in the cast of an ensemble touring production. You will have an opportunity to put into practice the skills learned during your training, such as collaborating and sharing ideas, as well as to play with different ways of working during the rehearsing and devising process. Being part of a touring ensemble will give you a chance to experiment with the methods and techniques developed during your training and to draw on the work of practitioners who have influenced and inspired you – perfect for anyone who wants to try as much as possible and to learn as much as possible.
Lots of Fourth Monkey alumni go on to join touring theatre companies or productions following graduation, and they have worked on projects as varied as touring Theatre Re productions in the US and Mexico, and national tours of the UK with Arrows & Traps. Why not read about Callum Littley’s experience of working as an actor in a touring production following his time at Fourth Monkey, or about Lucy Ioannou, Conor Moss and Laurel Marks’ time performing as part of a touring ensemble in very different productions – both of which will help you learn more about their experiences, how they have used the skills gained during their training and what their advice is for
WRITE YOUR OWN PLAY
If you find yourself frustrated at the lack of choice or diversity in the parts available to you and your contemporaries, or if you loved having a chance to create your own work and roles during your time at Fourth Monkey through devising classes and the Experimental Fringe project, why not think about taking this one step further and writing your own play or piece?
As well as giving you a chance to develop the devising and creating skills you gained during your time at drama school, writing your own piece is a great way to ensure you have control over the characters you represent, whether you perform the piece yourself or have someone else perform it for you. It allows you to take an idea from the first seeds of inspiration, to putting pen to paper and shaping it into something tangible ready to be performed in front of an audience – with the added benefit of knowing you don’t need to worry about how the writer might want you to interpret their words!
If you already have an idea ready to be fleshed out, why not sign up for a writing programmes aimed at helping new writers develop and shape their ideas into the first draft of a fully-realised play. Both Soho Theatre Writers Lab and the annual VAULT Festival New Writers Programme can help you develop and create work for the stage, as well as offering plenty of professional help and support.
Need some further inspiration? Check out Fourth Monkey alumni Sadie Clark on how she devised and wrote her debut one-woman play, Algorithms.
WORK AS AN ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
Assisting a director is a great chance to learn more about being a theatre maker, as you will be able to take a text and find the best way to bring your interpretation come to life onstage and in the actors’ hands. You will play a crucial part in helping the cast understand the creative choices being made and why they might be receiving specific directions or instructions – you’ll be responsible for ensuring everyone collaborates to create an engaging piece of theatre and that they feel engaged in the work being created.
Whilst you are training at Fourth Monkey, you will be encouraged to experiment with “playing” with a wide variety of ways to be creative and to make theatre, such as writing, directing and creating your own scratch work or devising your own projects with your classmates – it is important to try working offstage as well as onstage so that you are equipped to both create your own opportunities as a theatre maker and critically assess the work you do as a performer during and after your training. To help with this, why not try listening to your classmate’s feedback and the notes they receive as well as to your own notes and feedback when in class or rehearsals together? This will help you think about how to deliver feedback in a way that is diplomatic, concise and constructive (and supportive), as well as develop your communication skills to help you give notes and share direction with your peers when creating your own work.
For a great first-hand look at working as an Assistant Director, check out Brendan Lucia’s account!
FORM A THEATRE COLLECTIVE
If you liked worked as an ensemble and collaborating with others during your training, have you considered forming your own theatre collective? This is great way of surrounding yourself with like-minded creatives and devising original shows, sharing and celebrating stories that are sometimes overlooked, untold or unheard and generally creating and experimenting with different ways of working!
Forming a theatre collective is a great way of developing your abilities to work as part of a team, both when creating your own original pieces or interpreting existing work. You will need to make sure everyone’s voice is heard, that everyone’s ideas are shared and discussed fairly and that everyone has a chance to work to their interests, strengths and skills, whatever they might be. Whether you are a talented director, an emerging writer, a gifted actor, or an excellent communicator, everyone will have something unique and useful to contribute to the group to create an interesting yet harmonious dynamic who devise and perform thought-provoking work.
If you are interested in developing your own theatre collective but are not sure where to start, why not start by thinking about the theatre groups and the creatives whose work you admire. What do you find inspiring and interesting? What is it that you think makes them successful? During your time at Fourth Monkey, you will have had the chance to work with members of established theatre groups and collectives – what was it about their training and teaching that spoke to you and how could you use this to help you build your own theatre collective?
Check out the Q&A with alumni collective Lady Garden Theatre Company about the work they have been creating since graduating, and the advice they have for anyone thinking about setting up their own theatre company.
Hopefully this article has helped inspire you to think about what you might be able to do with your drama school training, how you can use the skills you have learned or will learn once you graduate and how you can collaborate with others to create your own opportunities!
Want to sample Fourth Monkey’s approach to actor training to see if it will be the right fit? Each month we offer a free Taster Workshop for anyone who would like to experience our training style before submitting an application to audition – learn more and book your place here.
Want an insight into our audition process, plus top tips on how to prepare and what to expect from a Fourth Monkey audition day? You can learn more here.