Monday, 30 January 2012

Choosing a monologue

When you go to an audition or when you are doing an exam choosing the right monologue can be the difference between good and very good.

Here are our top tips for monologues to help with your choice.

1. Dont look in a book of monologues everyone does that and it wont help you to stand out.

2. Use a book shop to browse such as the National Theatre book shop. Look and see if your local bookshop has a good theatre section and if not find one which does. Local theatres in the cities have bookshops as well. Try and find somewhere you feel comfortable looking at the plays and set some time aside to have a good read.

3. Talk to the people at these bookshops about plays with characters you are interested in.

4. Go to the theatre and watch plays and then buy a copy of the play you have seen and see if there is something you can adapt.

5. Try to get something which is in the same age group as you are.

6. Think about what it is you are trying to say in your monologue and work around that as well.

7. Consider your audience. You may choose something different when you are auditioning to when you are doing an exam.

Lastly here are a few ideas:

Female - young adult 

Tess from the Female of the Species (Joanna Murray-Smith) - pg 35,36,37 - can be made into a monolgue. Do contact us if you need help with this.

Angela from Like a Virgin ( Gordon Steel) - You just thought..........

Young girls 

Alice from Alice (Lucy Wade)

Men - young adult

Some great monologues in Jerusalem ( Jez Butterworth)

Herons (Simon Stephens)

Young boys 

My very own story (Alan Ayckbourn)

Please contact us if you want any further help at

Friday, 27 January 2012

Prepare yourself for a speech and drama exam

Preparing for an exam is never easy and often nerve wracking for adults and young people alike. Speech and drama exams have a lot to offer young people in gaining confidence with exams because they are often far more informal and friendly than other exam situations.

Here are our five top tips for those preparing for speech and drama exams.

1. Read the play in total even if you are doing a section.

It may sound silly but really unless you know the play you are studying you will not have the insight into the play or the character you are playing which will you need to do a really good job of selling your performance. the examiner may ask you questions about the play and this will stand you in good stead as you will be aware of how the character develops and have far more knowledge of how they interact with others in the play as well.

2. Understand and work on the theory.

The examiner may well ask you questions about context for the play or staging. You may be asked about style or interpretation of the play and about language and how you would re work a scene. All of this demonstrates a real understanding of your craft and a feel for the play, character and context of what you are doing.

3. Practice hot seating 

The examiner may well ask you questions and you will answer as your character rather than yourself (hot seating). Imagine what pets your character might have and how she or he might act in other situations. Think about how she or he feels about her parents or other people in the play and imagine possible scenarios involving your character. Eat your dinner in character or practice talking to your friends as your character if that helps.

4. Learn your lines 

Knowing your lines inside out means that if you forget something you can improvise because you know what's coming next. It also helps when you are nervous to feel extremely confident that you have really learned your stuff and know what you are doing. I recently went to a public speaking competition and the people who read their speeches were nowhere near as wonderful as those who had learnt them even though that was not necessary.

5. Breathe

The first thing to happen when you get nervous is that your breathing goes out of the window.Anyone who has listened to a nervous speaker knows you can hear them breathing and they breathe more often in shallow fast gasps. Practice your breathing and controlling your breath. This will not only help with nerves but also with getting the emotion and focus of your speech right. A great book to refer to on this is Cecily Berry's, Voice and the Actor.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Greek theatre

Greece is facing massive economic change and upheaval and is still in danger of defaulting on its debt. It is in the news for all the wrong reasons at the moment but in a corner of Greece we are running a summer workshop which will focus on the roots of classical theatre.

Submerged in the culture of the theatre in Greece itself we plan to run our summer school in the mountains outside in the open air which will add a new dimension to our theatre work suing the environment as well. The course will be intensive and immerse participants in a new situation where they work quickly at something possibly for the first time in a stimulating environment surrounded by the culture and people of Greece itself.

Most cities in Greece had a theatre in the heyday between 550 and 220 BC mostly in the open air in bowl shaped auditoriums the most amazing of which is Epidaurus where you can whisper in the middle of the stage (or as it was called the Orchestra) and it will be heard all the way to the back row of stone seats. Some Greek theatres were very big such as Epidaurus with room for 15,000 people and some small.

All the actors were men and boys with dancers and singers making up the chorus. They changed costume in a hut called the Skene and painting the walls of the hut made the first scenery. Plays were written as comedies or tragedies something which continued for many centuries after. the actors wore masks and wigs and shoes with thick soles to make them look taller. Costumes were often padded to make actors look stronger or fatter.

There were awards ceremonies for the best actors and plays and some of the most famous writers became national and international celebrities. Anyone studying the theatre seriously needs to have a grasp of Greek theatre and its influence is still felt today. Greek theatre is the origins of Western theatre as we know it.

We will be working with Antigone Gyra who is Artistic Director of Kinitiras dance spectacle . Antigone has been teaching movement to actors and choreography to dancers at professional dance and theatre schools in Athens since 1993. She grew up with ancient Greek traditions and is innovative and exciting in her way of working. We will also be working with her sister Violetta who is an actress who divides her time between Los Angeles and Athens. She has played roles in theatre, film and television and is a graduate of the Greek National Theatre and a lifetime member of the Actors Studio.

In order to truly appreciate the scale of theatre in Ancient Greece we will arrange visits to Epidaurus and Delphi where we will experiment with theatre in the same arenas that originally staged some of the great Greek tragedies and comedies.

Details on the website at or email

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Why join a theatre club?

As a parent deciding which after school activities might suit your child or navigating between them whilst your child wants to do everything can be a bit of a struggle. So we thought that it might be helpful to do a blog on the top ten reasons why you would choose a drama or theatre club.

1. Gain confidence
For many parents having a confident child is paramount and for young people having the confidence to speak out in an appropriate way is a key life skill. Working with others, sharing ideas, creating projects and mixing with new people are all part of the drama club experience. The club is a safe place to explore character traits, likes and dislikes and to experiment.

2. Meet friends
Meeting new people outside of the circle of school means that young people can create a diverse group of friends and can learn about other ways of doing things. For some school may not have provided exactly the right mix of people and for others simply gaining new friends is a bonus and widens their life experience.

3. Learn new skills
Theatre club means that young people are learning how to problem solve, they are learning about techniques in the theatre, group work and text work. They may also learn aspects of stage management and lighting or how to set a scene, tell a story or make something interesting and live.

4. Get in touch with your creativity
For some young people school does not always offer an opportunity to be very creative, set curriculums and exams can prevent a really creative person from expressing their individuality and theatre club can provide an outlet.

5. Experiment with other sides to your character
One of the joys of role play is that you can experiment and change things, you can become another person and really explore sides to yourself which you may not get the opportunity to do anywhere else. Working with others you may also discover that you are good at things which are a revelation such as directing or selling, making something interesting and alive or   being a really good team member.

6. Enjoy seeing things through the eyes of someone else
Acting enables young people to learn empathy and to really think about how it would be if they were different. Using script or improvisation you can explore a situation through someone else's eyes and really start to understand a different perspective.

7. Helps you to think on your feet
How often in life do we have to make quick decisions? Theatre club can be a place where you learn to do that as you are given roles to play or situations to explore and problems to solve and have only a few minutes to do it. Like any other skill this requires practice and in the safety of your local club you can get that and try new things out.

8. Team work
Getting to work with others who might be new or have more experience is part of working in a team. Solving problems together, tackling issues, creating new visions and making sure everyone gets a say are part of any work on a script, role play or improvisation. Learning to understand other people's point of view is a key requirement for most roles in life.

9. Compromise
And that leads us to compromise, something which is necessary if you are working with others. Someone might have a cherished idea or their idea may simply be better and learning how to give in graciously and being able to agree and move on is another key skill.

10. Helps you to read
Reading is not just about being able to read in your head it is also about learning to give expression to the words on the page and read out loud. Getting to grips with a script can help young people see that there are more than words on a page and that giving them life is important and can make reading far more interesting. Of course reading scripts also can open young people up to a whole new vocabulary as well.

All in all these ten points are only a few of the reasons why drama or theatre clubs are great experiences for young people and have huge benefits in enabling them to become resilient, confident and out going adults.