Tom’s the Word

tom

 

What a Fantastic start to 2016 Actor Awareness has had! Our Women’s Night submissions have closed but our LGBT night submissions are open! We are looking for 6 shows! This will take place at the Bread and Roses Theatre on the 15th of March and the submission deadline is 24th of February. So the theme is LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) the interpretation of the theme is down, you personally do not have to be LGBT to enter, your play has to just follow that theme. Actor Awareness has now secured 3 incredible venues to put on regular scratch nights such as The Bread and Roses Theatre, The Canal Theatre and Theatre N16. The current events we have planned is The Women’s Night on the 16th of February, LGBT Night on the 15th of March, Health Night on the 30th of May and the Actor Awareness Cabaret launch night in June. The documentary is going brilliant, we have some incredible interviews lined up such as John Challis, The Actors Centre and many more. Please if you want to get involved in any of our projects, get in contact.

Access for All- is it just a dream

Churchill

So it’s that time of year where hundreds of people, young and old, are auditioning for drama courses. Auditioning can be a very nerve racking and soul destroying experience. In the working world of acting I can walk into an audition room with composure; I can read well, hold myself and give off an air of professionalism. However, throw me into a room where people scrutinise and decide if you are worth 3 years of their time, I tend to crack a little. Last year I managed to secure myself a place on the Foundation course at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts and the training is invaluable. Time is flying past so quickly due to the very active, full on nature of the course, proving to be a very worthwhile experience..

The only problem?…MONEY.

First off, the majority of foundation courses aren’t under student finance, so you have to muster up around £8500-£9000 for the course; and that’s excluding the living expenses whilst on the course itself. If you were doing a foundation course in something else at university you would get funded…but this is the arts. By most, arts courses are seen as frivolous and a waste of time. I personally don’t see my future career in the arts as frivolous, but the government seems to disagree. In my opinion, all Education should be free…but of course that’s being idealistic. The current government want to slowly take art from our schools. They don’t seem to realise how important design, art and the performing arts are to our society and socio-economic growth.

As a mature student I am ineligible for most grants and funding. Therefore, by the time I’ve finished my foundation course I’ll have racked up a massive loan, and if I even get onto a BA I’ll be working solid all summer to pay it off before I have to start the process of finding money out of thin air all over again!! How is anyone from an underprivileged background, be it a single parent or low income/working class family, meant to afford to get through or even apply to drama school when audition time arrives, knowing they will be overcome with debt! I am lucky in that I trained as a nurse first, meaning I have some source of income for the duration of my course; even if my income is low, I get by.

Recent data shows that within drama schools today, there are a lot of students from state schools and low income backgrounds. If I think of the students at my school, this is fairly accurate; not all of the pupils are well off. I think the main problem starts at school level arts education. The arts are not valued; they are under appreciated and pushed to the side as a less important part of the curriculum. I come from a state school and my passion for theatre does not derive from their input. I couldn’t sing, so I was rarely chosen to perform in school productions. My passion comes entirely from the need to tells stories and the inspiration I got from theatre; the escapism and humanity I felt from the shows I saw growing up as a young adult in London; they have made me who I am today and shaped my love of the arts. I have worked in schools and seen the huge disparity in the opportunities, and hopefully one day Actor awareness can start reaching out to these schools and help in some way to keep the arts a vital element of school life and child development.

The majority of drama schools in England are in London, and the rising costs of living in London pushes newly graduated actors from lower income backgrounds to find work to pay the rent, meaning they can miss auditions and opportunities due to work commitments. The price of headshots and showreels is forever rising, and casting website subscriptions can be a struggle to maintain. A working actor has a lot of work to do and a lot to pay for before they can even secure a job, network in the right circles or even get an agent; that’s why people from lower income backgrounds have a lesser chance of making it in the acting world, as these factors are all easier if you are from a more affluent background. Now this is reality, and I’m not saying if you have more money that’s ‘unfair’ on the rest of us. Talent hopefully prevails in this industry, but there needs to be a conscious effort from people in the industry to source a diverse range of actors; from casting directors, agents, producers etc. The people at the top need to make changes, and the government needs to notice that the arts are an intrinsic part of society.

Tanya Perry a teacher in London was a Graphic designer for years before turning to secondary education. Here is what she says about the government and it’s attack on the arts.

‘Well I think that it’s already on its way to being demolished. I don’t think they can ever truly get rid of it, hopefully. I think by demolishing it will lead to a shortage in the jobs that makes London the creative hub it is. Without arts there is very little culture. Without design and art our towns would be hollow, no cinemas, no theatre, no exhibitions, no galleries, little museums; our homes and our countries would be economically depressed. In design there are people thinking up new products, new ways to use technology, new ways to implement technology in products. There’s essentially nothing without art and design that has substance or character and we can’t compete with countries on a global scale, with whom treat the arts as integral to forward thinking and a intelligent society’

There needs to be more funding available to people of all ages in the arts industry, to help pay the raising costs of accommodation and the extra costs of drama school, such as books and materials.

I believe that drama school audition fees need to be regulated. The accredited schools should have a system where people from lower income families should be able to receive a discount or a free audition place. Each Drama school should be allocated free audition slots for lower income students. I’m not saying abolish fees, but why not make them reasonable. Most aspiring actors will audition for around 6 schools, and at £50 an audition, it isn’t cheap.

Some schools even make applicants who are applying for the BA and the MA pay for 2 separate auditions, even thought it only takes one audition; they decide which course you are appropriate for and recall you based on that.

One good thing that the majority of schools do is have their auditions held in different places across the country, meaning if you don’t live in London you don’t have to rule out applying there because you can’t travel all that way. However, it is expensive getting yourself all over the country to the auditions, and some schools, such as RADA, require you to travel for every stage…that could be up to 4 journeys!

If the government keeps making cuts and slashing away at the curriculum and funding, how long will it be till what we see in our theatres, in our films and on TV is not a good representation at all of the society we live in.

We’ve Got it All Going On

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So the deadline is closed for The Women’s Night! We had 48 submissions and obviously only 6 could be chosen. There is a fantastic variety here that i’m sure will go down a treat. Ticket sales will go on soon.

Congratulations again everyone and I look forward to seeing them all.

Plays

Subjunctive
Monologues of a Tired Nurse
Second Hands Gone
Route
Spill your guts
Speci-Man

Book tickets for Womens night : http://canalcafetheatre.com/EventPage.php?Eventld=44307

March’ Scratch Night’ is at Bread and Roses Theatre in Clapham on 16th March. Theme is LGBT. Please send submissions to tanheartssteph@gmail.com

Februarys Writers Night to be confirmed, please email tanheartssteph@gmail.com if you’re interested. This is a relaxed evening with an invited writer where people can bring ideas or scripts and get constructive feedback in a supportive environment.

We have exciting plans regarding a big fundraiser to help us get more projects off the ground so keep track of all this via @actorawareness on Twitter. Tom is also working tirelessly to get projects working and off the ground outside of London in places such as Manchester, Bath. To have a say in future projects follow us on Facebook and Twitter and watch out for when the next meeting is and come join in making the arts inclusive.

Marc Zammit

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MARC ZAMMIT

Marc Zammit was raised in Bethnal Green, London. Marc’s career started at the age of 12, training at “Rhodes Theatre School” and “Barking Broadway”. Marc then had his first TV appearance in “The Bill” as a guest star, also appearing in other British programs and dramas as a guest star such as “After you’ve gone”, “Silent Witness”. Marc has taken his career into the film world, and has appeared in a few British Indie feature films.

Marc is making headway in the film industry and here is gives us some insight into his challenges as actor and his projects.

What are your biggest challenges Marc?

I’m dyslexic so i would say it would come down to doing readings, and rehearsals, i work pretty solid solo when learning lines and rehearsing them as i feel i can master what i need to do more and plant the script and lines in my head, when I’m in rehearsals, or readings I’m more focused on reading it right than delivering my performance. Its a tough industry and its a 24 hour job, a very tough industry you got to have thick skin though industry is for tough people so if your not tough become tough because you will need it, make rejection your best friend, i feel some people race sometimes comparing there careers to other people, you just need to focus on you, your target, your mission, your story, your journey. racing and comparing your career to other people will only slow you down, and i would say lose your distractions, why your on a train don’t sit there wasting time playing games on your phone to kill time, learn your lines, read books, develop and progress.

Tell us about your recent film project….
Pandorica is a Sci fi, Fantasy, Adventure, it is a world reset! Where Thade, Eiren, Ares are on a trial to become the new leader! Every Trail is different. no expectations, expect the unexpected. It’s a great Script, Great Story plot and Tom Paton is the Director and he has created something brilliant, and it looks brilliant too, from what I have seen! I’m a sic fi Fan so when I got the voicemail from Tom saying I’d landed the role for Ares I knew it was the beginning of something amazing and I was on my way home walking in the rain Smiling like I had just won the Euro Millions; it is by far one of the best acting experiences in my acting career.

Homeless Ashes is a film your working on also, tell us more about that….

Homeless Ashes! yes its a feature film I’m currently working on and have put a lot of heart into it. its a film about humanity and how we are all equal rich or poor, to raise awareness of homelessness, it’s a big subject that needs to be noticed and to expand the awareness, someone doesn’t plan to be homeless there’s so many reasons and stories how people end up homeless. I hope ‘Homeless Ashes’ can show this affectively, but in a nut shell it’s about a young boy Frankie who runs away from his problems at home and battles his survival on the streets. We are currently filming the teaser, which I managed to get funding for, which I’m over the moon about; amazing support from people has made this happen! I’m doing the teaser to show investors and potential production companies what I can do as a film maker! The teaser is that step closer and will help get the funding for the full length feature film, which is the hardest part of Indie film making!

What attracts you to film?

Talent, Quality acting, directing, and the cinematography, just everything how its made! I love film, I don’t watch a film once I watch it 3-5 times! but I’m addicted to film literally!

Pandora Official Film Trailer

Andrew Sharpe

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Andrew is a playwright and currently his play ‘GoodNight Polly Jones’ is running at Theatre N16, a place which champions new writers. The play runs Feb 1st – Feb 11th. get down there, fun guaranteed! Book at theatren16.co.uk

So Andrew how did you first start writing?
Through music. I met my longstanding creative partner Amy Kakoura when she joined our band, Steamchicken, and we formed a writing partnership. We went on to co-write the musical ‘Songs from a Ledge’. I had been playing with a novel for a couple of years before that (still am) but found when working with Amy that I enjoyed writing for the stage. GPJ is my first solo work, Amy and I continue to work together and hope to bring ‘My Celebrity Friend’ to London later in the year.

What excites you about putting pen to paper?
That’s the last part of the process. An idea comes from somewhere and I play about with it for ages in my head, often whilst out walking and equally often (to my shame) when I should be paying attention to friends and family. It’s normally based on some wrongness, something in the world that’s out of order and needs to be looked at in a different way. Characters form, often drawn from real life, and start arguing about who should get the happy ending. I get a real buzz when I eventually figure out what the plot is and how that story needs to be told to make everything fit better in our world. There is also a great feeling of achievement writing ‘FIN’ at the end of a page.

You have your play Good Night Polly Jones showing for a 2 week run at N16 Theatre in London from1st Feb for 2 weeks, firstly well done, secondly how did you come to work with N16?
Thank you! I’m a real twitter tart and am constantly seeking out new contacts and opportunities, I’ll see anybody interesting for a coffee and a chat. Jamie agreed to meet with me just as he was setting up in Balham. We seemed to hit it off straight away, he’s passionate about what he does but very straightforward and easy to deal with. We’re both newish in the industry and are learning together.

What is Goodnight Polly about? When did you get the idea for this play?
It’s entirely fictional, but as with all of my work, draws on many characters and situations I saw working as a lawyer, the human interest stuff that’s often left out of the court papers and reports. The play is set around an incident of sexual assault in the workplace of the sort that frequently goes unreported and unprosecuted. It deals firstly with the immediate aftermath, and then we see Peter and Polly five years later as he struggles with remorse. I hope it adds positively to the dialogue around an important and ever topical subject.

You have quite a few other written pieces in development, how do you go about finding people to develop your work, can you give advice to new writers with work that are seeking collaboration?
Writers should write, read, watch plays and movies, write and then write more. Then share your writing by drafting reviews, letters to the local paper, going to writing circles, adult education courses and looking for other emerging professionals (actors, directors, theatre makers) at an appropriate level. Twitter is great for this. Your work is not likely to be polished enough to engage the literary department of a major theatre just yet, but there are dozens of scratch nights, new writing nights and workshops. Once you’ve got your first feedback be prepared to re-write everything you’ve ever written. I would highly recommend Sheer Drop and their scriptwriting service, excellent value. So & So Arts club is also worth seeking out. If working direct with a cast, get a director first and be prepared to buy the cakes.

What one piece of advice would you give to writers starting out?
Are you writing for yourself or for other people? Writing for yourself is fine. If you’re writing for other people that feeling of utter panic and crippling self-doubt when they start talking about your work is normal, don’t be put off. Listen to what they say, try not to let your tears blur your notes, go away and do it better.

What do you love about theatre?
I’m presently fascinated by the production and staging of other works, seeking to learn when conceptualising my own work. It has a unique power and grace, an ability to transform quite unlike other media. And proper endings.

Why do you think theatre is important? 
Change and healing flowing from a story. A community has physically come together to share that idea and all, cast and audience alike, need to be engaged and changed by the performance, becoming incrementally more thoughtful. We need to be rigorous with quality, vision and delivery to fulfil that contract.

Do you feel certain restrictions within the industry? What would you like to see more of?
Although there are perceived barriers to entry I’ve found it pretty open to determined new entrants. There is considerable use of networks and word of mouth, which can appear discriminatory. There are issues concerning the financial rewards at entry level, mainly because the public are unable and/or unwilling to afford to pay a commercial price for drama in small-venues, and too often that is reflected in the poor quality of the work (music suffers even more so from this ailment). Many creatives are forced to take a second job outside theatre and forgo a personal life. I think there’s a broad political consensus that average salaries need to rise, so that demand/spending in general and on the arts coincidentally can rise, and we need to match that with better quality and more developed works. I’d be interested in talking to/working with Actor Awareness about difficulties and barriers perceived by many social groups often defined as excluded, the role of secondary education and the lack of social mobility within society generally.

Bread and Roses Theatre Extravaganza

So cheap Theatre I hear you cry. Well I am here to save the day. Bread and Roses Theatre Clapham have a fantastic selection of theatre for the Month of February! Bread and Roses is a fantastic fringe venue that produces work by new writers, actual new writers, showcasing such a variety of work!! Smack bang in Clapham it is a hub of creativity.

Bread and Roses hold writers events for people to mingle and get feedback on scripts as well as other events such as Platform which is all about getting new, innovative, provocative theatre out there!!

1 BillionRising Festival

     festival bread and roses

This Month they bring you 1 Billion Rising Festival, Sunday 7th to Sunday 14th February with several events each day!! The festival is delivering a diverse line up of plays that covers the topic of violence and women. 1 in 3 women are raped on the planet during their lifetime, with a population of 7 billion, this adds up to more than 1 billion! This festival is a shout out to stop violence to women, come listen and spread the word! It’s time to open your minds and your hearts and see theatre that matters, theatre with a message, theatre that can make a difference. There is also talks, exhibitions and workshops.

Full lineup and details http://www.obrfestival.uk. Tickets from Free to £15. 20% discount when booking for several events.

See Bob Run

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Tuesday 23rd to Saturday 27th February at 7.30pm

Bob is on the road. Bob is on the run. But from what, or whom, is she running? Follow Bob as she hops from car to car telling her story to unsuspecting drivers as she tries to put her life in the rear view mirror. Will she make it to the destination? And what will she find when she gets there. A play by Daniel Maclvor and performed by Louise McMenemy.

Tickets: £9  Concession: £7. http://www.breadandrosestheatre.co.uk/see-bob-run.html

Last Orders

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Tuesday 1st to Saturday 5th March at 7.30pm

Albert productions brings ‘Last Orders’ written and directed by Lucy laing. On the anniversary of his death, a decade after the event that stole their last christmas together , 3 friends meet to commemorate the life of the one they lost. Last Orders explores the loyalty of childhood friendships and how we all grow-up to be something we weren’t.

Tickets: £12  Concession £10. http://www.breadandrosestheatre.co.uk/last-orders.co.uk

A Series Of Unfortunate Break Ups

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A Series of Unfortunate Breakups
Written by Lucy Burke
Directed by Imogen Beech

What sounds better than a play about relationships, break ups & makes up! sounds like my life! Well check out the fab show ‘A Series of Unfortunate Breakups’, It looks like it’s set be a top bloody show, so get reading then get booking your tickets.

If you want a chance of winning some FREE tickets (I did say free, you’re right) Tweet @actorawareness #UnfortunateBreakups with your funniest breakup in 6 words or less!!!

‘Some Riot Theatre’ presents ‘A Series of Unfortunate Breakups’, a new comedy about love, loss and Harry Styles.

“Being a teenager is hard enough, but it’s even harder if your soulmate is a global superstar who doesn’t actually know you exist…”

Watch three young couples try (and fail) to battle their way through the modern world of sex and dating with catastrophic yet hilarious results. Fresh from a sell out run at Camden’s Etcetera Theatre, ‘A Series of Unfortunate Breakups’ explores what happens after the happily-ever-after and is truly a show not to be missed if you want to learn what NOT to do in the big, bad world of love.

Robert Ansell and Katie Dalzell

The play was created by writer Lucy Burke. After graduating from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in the Summer of 2015, Lucy went on to create ‘Some Riot Theatre’ a new company made up of drama school graduates dedicated to creating, producing and performing new works. The play is the company’s debut play. It is currently being previewed in selected venues around London, before going on to the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Upcoming performances:

A Series of Unfortunate Breakups Valentines Day Special
Sunday 14th February at 20.00

Venue: Camden Comedy Club,100 Camden High Street, London, NW1 0LU.

Tickets £7 (£6 concessions)

WIN TICKETS BY TWEETING @SomeRiotTheatre @actorawareness and in 6 words describe your funniest breakup

SEE YOU THERE