At Actor Awareness we want to raise discussion about drama school fees. We want to hear all opinions from all sides to see how the drama school fees (which are becoming increasingly expensive and pricing people out) are justified.

We are passionate (as most people in the arts industry are) about creating a fairer, culturally diverse and true representation of society on stage and screen.  We strive to create opportunities for those who haven’t been able to reach certain platforms due to financial constraints. #WhyTheFee is a question posed to open conversation and get people talking.  Recognition of a deficit is always good and helps create an awareness, hopefully, leading to a stepping stone to some form of change.

At Actor Awareness our first port of call is to question the ‘Fee’.

People in every walk of life don’t have to pay for job interviews but it is standard as an actor to pay from the very beginning of your career. People say this helps sort out the weak from the strong, the committed to the not very committed, it prevents auditions becoming like the x factor. Whatever your opinion there is an inconsistency with drama school fees and an inconstancy in what they provide and offer. With schools dropping out of Drama UK, fees and rules can change as they please. Now as a business, (as that’s what they are) they need to make money, but surely not at the expense of people’s aspirations.

Why Pay?

  • Drama schools need to pay outside professionals to cast the year ensemble
  • Drama schools have lack of government funding
  • They have thousands upon thousands of applicants, so it means only those who really want it apply?
  • It takes weeks/months to audition and some schools have 4 stages. This takes time, time equals money
  • The money goes back into the school to provide services

Why It should be free or affordable

So people from all backgrounds can apply–equal opportunity! More diverse ensembles at drama school will filter through and reflect in the professional industry, it will set standards and a by product will be a change in who we see on stage and screen.

So when applying for more than one school you don’t break the bank

Schools should have a vested interest in the talent applying, therefore should be aware that having high prices and limited audition venues  eliminates worthy candidates .

Auditionees get value for money

In other careers , no one pays for job interviews

It’s the school’s responsibility to find talent nationwide and high fees exclude large groups of people. But this just makes us sound naive and idealistic, doesn’t it? We at Actor Awareness, are not that and we know how the world works and how the industry sits with lack of funding and arts cuts in schools, but surely we can’t just throw down our hands and say “oh well”. I hate the adage “money makes the world go round”, especially when it comes to education and training. By just admitting defeat, we’re settling down to watching the same old TV; Downton Abbey redone a million different times, regurgitating the same circles of actors and taking from an exclusive pool of people. There is amazing talent just waiting to be discovered. You could say, “well Alan Rickman and Judi Dench were working class”, and yes they were, but both have stated that they would never make it today, in this climate. So in 5 years’ time, 10 years’ time, the working class actor might just be a myth, a little whisper of a memory that, yes once, theatre and film was for all. But now it’s merely, ‘Oh well, they can’t afford it.’

I spoke to Emmanuel De Lango of Equity who informed me there is an upcoming motion regarding Drama school fees. So keep an ear out here and I’ll let you know the details when it comes out.

The main thing is the staggering differences in fee costs. £40-£90. Now if you get recalled you can say, ‘well my money per audition is less,’ but surely if they like you they want you regardless. Surely if the audition process is so costly why do they stage so many rounds?!! There are schools including Bristol that only do 2 rounds. Be ruthless, that’s the industry right? Seems much more affordable to do one long day workshop, places like Rada have 4 rounds. The first two rounds you do your monologues but in front of slightly more people the 2nd time, surely they can cut that stage out and just make a more decisive first round choice. 

Condensing the rounds and limiting the number of stages would make it better for schools and auditioness. Then it cuts down on travel costs for applicants and school cost on staff.

The late fees like the ones at Rada are unacceptable, making people pay £80 because you applied after a set date in December, is this justifiable? Ucas doesn’t close till January.  Some justification of admin fees might make this cost more reasonable.

Guildhall is now £63! Surely, schools such as Guildhall with many other possible creative ventures to make money and large volume of applicants don’t need it to be so steep! Upping the fees on ‘they keep coming so we keep putting up the price, its supply and demand’ is not fair. Most applicants to Drama school make 5 entries minimum and the cost on a low income family is a big financial strain to just apply!

So let’s:

  • cut down stages
  • make a reasonable fixed price
  • offer feedback for people who make the final stage

I may have been a bit controversial there when I said provide feedback, considering you don’t get much of that in the “real world,” but these people are wanting to train. Surely a new actor could do with some feedback on simple things like choice of speech, presentation, physical choices. I don’t think the auditionees are asking for a novel, just some justification for the money they spent, I assume when you’re auditioning and they say they will be making notes they aren’t just pretending. Surely this can be filed away and, if the actor requests it,  be sent to them. Yes it’s more more admin, but it would provide better value for money as, at the end of the day, auditionees have paid for something. Lots of schools have many good aspects to their auditions but currently lots of people are finding that the rising costs aren’t always reflecting what they are paying for and the rising costs at some schools means they aren’t applying, 

Fee/ Regional Stages/Feedback Fee waiver
Rada £40


No regional auditions

Preliminary audition –

Recall audition –

Short workshop (three hour session)

Workshop day later in process

No Feedback

No fee waiver


£80 after first deadline

Guildhall £63 

No regional auditions

4 stages- initial, recall, then if successful two further rounds including workshop day.

No feedback

Fee waiver brought in this year, 63 fee waiver places, first come first served. Plan to increase 2017/2018
Bristol £50

No Regional auditions

2 Stages

No Feedback

Some available on request


probably one of the shortest auditions for a school that is quite far away. They are super friendly but it feels very quick, at least they don’t have 4 stages, so some money saved on a return trips there.

Lamda £45

Has regional auditions

3/4 stages

A very quick in and out of monologues at the first stage with a interview post pieces with staff and ex students

No Feedback

Fee waivers available, there are a certain amount available.


You can apply more than once each year, which seems odd to me.

Royal Welsh £47

UCAS fee also

Some Regional auditions

2 Stages

You do your monologues in front of a group of other applicants, Recall workshop.

No Feedback

? Fee waivers


I know someone who was told (at 23 by the panel) he was too old and that it’s good to get in the game when you’re young

Royal Scottish £45 + Ucas Fee

International locations but no regional. Can send a recording as a audition.

2 Stages

If you get recalled to the afternoon you do some improv and redo your speeches with direction. Recall workshop.

No Feedback

No fee waiver


BA and MA auditions require two separate fees.

Drama Centre £45 + Ucas fee

No regional auditions

3 Stages

No Feedback

I auditioned and the panel chatted to the applicants before the recall list was put up, they were lovely but said no feedback represents ‘the industry’

No fee waiver
Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts £45 + Ucas fee

Regional auditions available

1/2 stages (workshop day)

No Feedback

No fee waiver


Arts ED £45

Outreach groups

2 stages

Workshop day

No feedback

Some free auditions available and outreach groups to encourage under represented people to apply.

They are career development loan provider


course fees are 12,500 yearly

Mountview £45

Some regional auditions

2 Stages

Workshop day

No feedback

No fee waiver


Drama Studio £45

No regional auditions

2 Stages

Workshop Day

Feedback given, they are very constructive and  having auditioned here I feel like many drama schools could take this approach.

No fee wiaver


Drama studio provide a level of feedback face to face in a very constructive and positive manner on the initial and recall stage.

They are a career loan development provider

East 15 £55 + Ucas fee

No regional auditions

2 Stages

Workshop day

Feedback on speeches during workshop

No fee waiver


Oxford school of Drama £45

No regional auditions

Feedback on request

Workshop day and they fit it into 1 day to cut down on travel.

They also provide a bus from that station to help students get to the school.

No fee waiver

career development loan applicable


66% of students had a scholarship in 2015


Ucas fee + £45

Regional auditions available


No feedback

 Fee waiver available
Central School of Speech and Drama

Ucas fee + £50

No regional just international

 3 Stages

No feedback



Fee waiver available on request

They have several outreach programmes:



Rose Bruford College

Ucas + £50

No regional auditions

 1-3 stages

Don’t expect much for 1st stage, and plan for trouble on the train, south western trains are notoriously bad.

No feedback


Fee waiver available on request


The Rose Bruford Jubliee fund helps graduates who want to progress by giving to graduate groups.


1st stage of audition is very very quick, in and out and often some people don’t get chance to do two pieces! 

The chart is a guideline of what the stages are and the cost. International fees and auditions haven’t been included but by general rule of thumb is just double the cost!

It is obvious from researching that the schools are just like us wanting and and fighting for the same vision and culture in the arts, some schools seem more open but it is nice to see that the fee waivers are starting to become more prevalent and most schools have only implented these fee waivers in 2016, so it shows making a noise counts.


Clapham Fringe @ Bread and Roses

clapham fringe

20th October to 6th November


The Clapham Fringe was founded, and is currently produced, by Rebecca Pryle and Tessa Hart, the team who also founded and manage The Bread & Roses Theatre. For 2016 Velenzia Spearpoint is also joining the team as an Associate Producer.

The first Clapham Fringe featured 18 different productions with 47 performances altogether.

Registration Fee: £40

Final Application Deadline: 12pm on Sunday 12th June 2016.

Apply at http://www.claphamfringe.com/take-part.html


Health Themed Scratch Night is underway

Well done to Michelle Payne, dave House, Paula Connolly, Ruth Bayard, MD Comedy revenue and Spark Assembly.


Buy Tickets http://www.theatren16.co.uk/#!actorawareness/qku6z

Unforseen circumstances mean the Launch night auditions could not be held, we are now taking video auditions. Please send to actorawareness@gmail.com



Upcoming Scratch night with GUILDFORD FRINGE!! Actors involved in this night will receive payment which is a big step for us at Actor Awareness, being able to make theatre and meet industry standards. As a some company it has been a uphill battle and something we aim to continue to strive for. Please come support and get your submissions in now.

class night

Theatre For May

The Young Vic

young vic

The Young Vic tells stories that aim to engage audiences in the world they are living today.  Their shows are created by some of the world’s great artists – of this generation and the next. With roots deep in our neighbourhoods, we reach out to theatre makers across the globe.

Young vic works to create diversity and have programs that reach into boroughs to get people involved and part of creative programmes.

They have several fab plays starting in May, Blue/Orange and Cuttin It. Both thought provoking current plays engaging in a very current world.

Blue/Orange– 12 May- 2nd July

blue orange

Christopher has been confined to a psychiatric ward for a month. He wants out. The problem is he still thinks oranges are blue. His doctor, convinced he needs help, wants to section him. The senior consultant thinks it’s all a question of culture: at home in Shepherd’s Bush Christopher will be amongst ‘people who think just like him’. And besides, it costs taxpayer money to keep Christopher in care.

Book tickets now and don’t be disappointed.




Arcola is a really diverse very forward thinking forward, 50% of the plays in their last season were women playwrights. They also have Arcola Lab- a mentoring scheme and really go out their way to engage in the community and help emerging artists. It is also very good value for money, an Arcola passport can also be brought which makes a trip to the theatre less than £10!

Go to their website have a gander and go see a show!

They have a world premiere from the multi-award-winning Papatango play on NOW!

After Independence– 4th-28th May

Guy and Kathleen grow their crops, raise their daughter, and pay their taxes. But Africa is changing, country by country. White farmers in Zimbabwe must now answer for history’s crimes. When Charles arrives with a smile and a purchase order, there’s more than just land at stake. With violence threatening to erupt, he will do whatever it takes to restore their farm to the ‘native’ population.

As truths are revealed and moralities questioned, are things ever more than simply black and white?

Inspired by real events in Zimbabwe, BBC Scriptroom winner May Sumbwanyambe‘s debut play is an unflinching examination of land ownership, dispossession and justice in a postcolonial world.

Birmingham rep

birmingham rep

The REP is one of Britain’ s leading producers of new theatre. They commission newcomers and new groups as well as established theatre professionals. They support the development of new ideas for productions through linking their creative team across many diverse communities of professional and emerging artists. Some new works start life here and go on to become tours or films or transfers to other theatres. For instance, East Is East by Ayub Khan-Din was premiered at The REP in 1996, published and adapted into a multi-BAFTA award winning film in 1999 and returned to The REP in 2009. Frozen by Bryony Lavery was commissioned by The REP, produced for the main stage in 2000, transferred to The National Theatre, won TMA best play award, was produced on Broadway and nominated for 4 Tony Awards.

3-7th May

the father

Now eighty years old, Andre was once a tap dancer. He lives with his daughter Anne and her husband Antoine. Or was he an engineer whose daughter Anne lives in London with her new lover, Pierre? The thing is, he is still wearing his pyjamas and he can’t find his watch. He is starting to wonder if he’s losing control…

It’s only here for a short while so get your tickets booked and don’t miss out!




How did Underexposed come together?

I had written a short play that happened to explore the idea of a certain underexposed stereotype. From this, I had the idea that underexposed stereotypes in general was an interesting subject matter to reflect on and one that had a lot of scope. There didn’t seem to be anything on the theatre scene that quite pertained to this idea so I decided to produce my own theatre festival under that theme because, well, why not?! It was a big undertaking but one that I knew would be fruitful and it felt good to be doing something so proactive. The next thing I needed was more plays so I put some feelers out there and ended up getting a huge number of excellent submissions from friends, friends of friends, acquaintances and total strangers! I selected the ones that I felt would worked best in the festival and alongside that developed another couple of my own pieces with the underexposed theme in mind. A meeting of all the writers took place shortly before Christmas with each one being given the autonomy to select their own crew and run their own show (as it were). There was still plenty of orchestration to be done and the small matter of my own three shorts to be cast and rehearsed (with me in them as well) so I had my work cut out for me but the show was definitely on the road by this point (or the engine was on and we’d backed out the drive-way anyway).

What is Underexposed ethos?

Exploring any stereotypes that get less publicity than the big ones, especially ones where stigmatisation is still more or less acceptable. It can be anything from the serious and worthy to the silly and light-hearted as long as it fits the bill. We’ve got everything from post-natal depression and revolution to hyper-spirited artistic types and deliberations over cocks and consequences in this one so it’s a broad church!

What is your current production about?

It’s a collection of nine short plays with each exploring the underexposed theme from different perspectives. They’re a mixture of comedies and dramas, although the balance is towards the former. The serious ones still raise some laughs and smiles and the comedies present some salient arguments so your mental and emotional muscles get a good flexing all round!

Actor Awareness is about creating equal opportunity, how do you guys feel the industry needs to address certain factors such as maintaining a inclusive arts culture?  (big question! sorry)

By avoiding stereotyping! I think it starts with the writing and the casting: have an open mind about what your character is going to look and sound like and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. In reality, people from different backgrounds can, should and do occupy positions in all walks of life and if you can’t reinforce that through art then when can you? So if you’ve written an ostensibly white middle class character – see some working class people for it, see people from ethnic minority backgrounds; if you’ve written an archetypal businessperson – see some women for the part. Will they be any less believable? They shouldn’t be – not if the character’s fully drawn. Still always pick the best actor for the part, don’t anybody any favours – it’s patronising, and don’t discriminate in the other direction – that’s not fair either. Just widen your perspective, challenge your preconceptions and keep your options open. We’re so conditioned to think of certain people looking and sounding a certain way that it’s going to take an enormous amount of reconditioning to change that. If I said to you ‘close your eyes and think of a surgeon’, nine out of ten people will summon to mind an image of a white, middle-class man. Are all surgeons white, middle class men? Of course not. It’s the same across a whole host of professions and ‘types’ of people. It’s the way we’ve learnt to understand the world from when we were babies. Changing laws, launching initiatives is difficult (but doable), restructuring centuries of psychological and societal conditioning – harder. I think that’s the way we have to go though really – rather than writing more plays and films tailored to specific groups of people and then having the main dominated by the same people it always has been. What I’m saying is hardly revelatory and of course it’s already happening to an extent -(although more so on the small screen than the big and not nearly enough in theatre). So, how about making the next big movie a character-driven drama about a business executive who has an affair with another executive (on an equal pay grade) and then happen to cast Idris Elba and an unknown 5ft 3 inch brunette actress like um, me. Sorry!! Couldn’t resist…. There was a serious point in there though.

Shows– 8th and 9th May at The Old Red Lion Theatre in Angel, Islington. 

Performance starts at 7.30pm and lasts around two hours with a fifteen minute interval.

Full details of all the different plays, as well as the writers, directors and actors involved in them can be found on our website at:


London Playwrights Blog

london p


London Playwrights Blog was started in 2013 as a resource for emerging playwrights.  Their aim is to bring together the latest opportunities, best resources, and good advice in one place.

This is a fantastic source for all writing competitions and workshops.

The Team

A.C. Smith – Director and Co-Founder

london p pic
A.C. Smith (Alli to friends!) is a scriptwriter and songwriter. She has won awards from the RSC and Soho Theatre, and had work performed at venues including Soho Theatre, RADA, Southwark Playhouse, Theare503, HighTide Festival, Rose Playhouse Bankside, Pleasance Theatre, The Space, and the Tristan Bates Theatre.  She has worked at RADA as a Playwriting Tutor and as Head of Academic Studies, and as a  Development Executive at First Born Films, nurturing new feature film projects. As a lyricist and bookwriter for musical theatre, A.C. was shortlisted for the Perfect Pitch Award and has had her songs (written with Bella Barlow) performed at the Globe Theatre and on JemmThree Radio. She and Kimberley founded London Playwrights’ Blog as a resource to help writers bridge the gap between their artistic lives and practical goals. She is excited to be expanding this work into new initiatives to support London writers.

Kimberley Andrews – Head of Writer Development and Co-Founder

KimKimberley is a playwright and budding screenwriter. She has had work produced at the Birmingham Rep and has developed work with the Manchester Royal Exchange, Wolverhampton University and All the Rage Theatre. She has also written and produced comedy sketch shows at the Hen & Chickens and is currently working on a television project. When she’s not writing, she works as a freelance script consultant and has also tutored playwriting students at RADA. Kimberley heads up our writer development and is keen to create exciting opportunities and resources for emerging writers. Along with the rest of the core team, she also manages the organisation and writes original content for the site.

Sam Sedgman – Head of Editorial and Digital

Sam is a freelance writer and digital project manager. He has managed digital projects for clients including the National Theatre, the Free Word Centre, Pegasus Theatre and Fevered Sleep. His work has been produced at Theatre503, the Warwick Arts Centre and Studio 52 in New York. He has read scripts in the literary departments of the Bush, the Finborough, the Old Red Lion, and Theatre503. He has also tutored playwriting students at RADA. Sam makes sure all our digital assets keep ticking, manages the site’s editorial output, and takes a shared role in managing the organisation. He also writes plays now and again.

Regular Contributors:

Adam Taylor – Columnist, Pursued By A Bear

Adam Taylor is a playwright from Watford. He gained a place on Paines Plough’s Future Perfect 2009 and subsequently had plays performed at Soho Theatre, The Unicorn, North Wall Oxford, the Latitude Festival and Rose Bruford College. Adam has written and performed his own monologues at Watford Palace Theatre, Soho Theatre and the Hen and Chickens. He has written short plays for nabokov’s Present : Tense and Theatre 503. Adam has written two plays under commission from Strode’s College, Egham. He collaborated with Theatre Re to create The Gambler, which was shown at the Pleasance for the duration of the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe and toured to The Roundhouse, The Space, Jackson’s Lane, the RADA Festival and The Cockpit Theatre. Adam also writes and produces his own hip hop as a solo artist under the name CymbalEyes and as one half of the group Versiz with King Cao.

Follow them on Twitter @LDNplaywrights

Michelle Payne

micheele payne
You have been supporting Actor Awareness, which we appreciate, you have a short play in their Health scratch night, what inspired you for this piece?
I was mostly inspired by a horrendous five minute video of what really happens on a dairy farm! I’m part joking, but seriously, it’s scary how little people know (or want to know) about the food they’re consuming! Nutrition and diet is obviously a big part of our health that people don’t really seem to be confronting much in day to day life – I mean besides failed attempts at cosmopolitan bikini body diets. I do a lot of teaching work in primary schools, and found myself in a staff room full of teachers complaining for a whole hour about their bodies! -Each as they microwaved their tesco ready meals and sat around a table littered with biscuits and cakes. So when I started writing my play, it began as two characters discussing the sugar tax – something I strongly disagree with and I wanted to remind people that the government know we’re all addicted, (“You’ll still be fat, just poorer for it!”) and instead why can’t the companies actually making the product be taxed instead. The play then developed into the staff room scenario I’d found myself part of the week before. We all worry about our health, but we DO have control over what we are putting inside our bodies.
You also have written a play Orchid that was part of last years Camden Fringe and this years Blackbox Festival at the Etcetera Theatre, what is this play about?
Orchid came from frustration! Quite simply, there’s not enough jobs for creatives at the moment, and I wanted to make some! It’s about the pursuit of happiness, a spiritual journey and what it really means to have wholehearted belief in yourself. Orchid is the name of the main character, and she’s a strong, intelligent 18 year old girl trapped in a post-apocolyptic underground world, just wanting to see the sun shine. I am in the process of booking a third run with this play, for the third week in September at Theatre Utopia in Croydon. You can follow @ORCHID_Play on twitter or visit our website for more details.http://www.orchidtheplay.co.uk
Orchid is co-written with Daniel Len, directed by James Milton with associate director Emma Pritchard and our composer is Tom Baynton. The Blackbox cast included myself, Jimmy Jameson, Will Richards, Hilary Murnane and Kilian McIntosh.
What inspires you to write?
I’m mostly inspired by my frustration with society. It’s tough trying to be a young creative and make a living in London. I often feel disconnected from how our country is being controlled, and writing plays is a way for me to not feel so helpless! If I can have my say and share my opinion and help audiences start discussions then I’m happy. I love people and relationships, so that’s my favourite part about writing. There might be this amazing, epic setting or storyline but I love when it just boils down to the people that I’ve created in my head just having a chat!
How did you get your play up and running? i.e crowdfunding , financial aspects 
It was hard graft. For the Camden Fringe run I managed to fundraise about £700 from very, very generous family and friends – people I will forever be grateful to. More recently though, rehearsal spaces are just coming straight out of my Front of House wages! Ha.
What do you love about theatre?
I love that it can provoke discussions and make you feel. I love not being myself for an hour or two and fully investing in what’s happening in front of me. We are losing this with the Netflix generation as we check our whatsapp and play 1010 while we’re ‘watching’ our favourite series. There’s too many distractions in life. With theatre there is one thing to concentrate on, and one story to get lost in.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell her that being a playwright can be a real job. I never thought it was something that I could choose as a career path until last year and it has been so rewarding so far.
How do you feel the industry -in your opinion- stand regarding ensuring all backgrounds have access?
This is a tricky question and I think it depends on potentially your own personal contacts. The old ‘its not what you know…’ thing. It is definitely getting better! I am so grateful for Actor Awareness, as finding good platforms for new writing can be tricky and unless you produce your writing yourself, it’s hard to contact and invite industry people and progress your work. I recently had a conversation with an actor who had been to a very good drama school, and he was saying how I was in the same position as a girl in his class. He was explaining how she had written a play for her dissertation and then was given an amazing theatre to be showcased at – but this was only because this particular drama school had the contacts and the funding. I had to explain how I wasn’t in the same position as I presented him with negative figures from hiring two fringe venues with my own money haha. But he genuinely couldn’t understand why I was finding it so difficult to get my work picked up.
What do you do to stay motivated as an actor and playwright? 
Lots of theatre! I try to see as much as I can. I love going to the Royal Court. Just being in the building makes me burn up with excitement. That is the ultimate goal, to have a play or two… or three on at the Royal Court! I also spend lots of time with supportive, hilarious friends. Classes and workshops are also a great way to self-motivate, I always come out feeling reaffirmed and confident with my skill set.
How do you feel about Drama School audition fees? What would you do to make it more accessible? 
Now I’m split with this question as the audition fees are rocketing every year and it’s getting ridiculous! However, as a teacher, I hear children every day telling me they want to be famous, and there has to be a way of whittling out wannabes and finding the people who just want to train and ultimately tell stories. The audition fee can sometimes help to work out who’s serious about training as an actor/actress in an oversaturated industry, but we also will miss out on some potentially good people because they can’t afford the audition fees and the travel and the overnight stays etc. I feel that if people really want to go they will scrape together the fee, just because when I auditioned for schools, I worked and saved specifically for the audition fees because I knew which schools I wanted to audition for and why. But I also live in London so I only had to play £7 on my oyster card for the days travel – if I lived up north and wanted to go to a London school, I could’ve maybe only have afforded to audition at two schools instead of five. To sum up there just has to be an alternative to £65 per audition – unless they’re going to spend more than five minutes in a room with the auditionee! This is just greedy and elitist.

Free Rayne Artists

free rayne

So firstly there is 4 of you involved in the theatre company, how did it come about?

Well, ever since meeting at High School, Rebecca and I (Matthew) had always joked about starting our own Theatre Company. After going our separate ways, graduating from different Drama Schools and meeting Olivia and Leanne, we felt that now was an appropriate time to form a Company. We believe that there is an undying need in this industry for the platform and showcase of new writers, actors and directors. 

Why are you passionate about new writing?

We are passionate about new writing for various reasons. Firstly, we believe that new writing is the future of our industry. With countless revivals happening at any given time, we feel that there is always a need for new writing from the playwrights of today. We feel that new playwrights SHOULD be given a voice and should be given a platform in which to tell their stories. It is also a great opportunity to Produce new work that no one has preconceptions of… Giving us ‘Free Rayne’ over these pieces. 

What inspires you to make theatre?

First and foremost, we are inspired to make theatre in order to give a voice to playwrights, actors and directors who may not necessarily be given the opportunity otherwise. We are story tellers and wish to communicate with an audience, be that through laughter or tears, we want to take them on a journey. 

Where do you source your writing material?

We source all of our writing material through social media. We created a Website and Twitter Account advertising for material, actors and directors. We were overwhelmed by the quantity AND quality of submissions; which made our jobs extremely difficult. NEVER underestimate the power of social media! 

You have a new writing night coming up at Theatre N16, which is a great Theatre (Actor Awareness love Theatre N16). The theatre is a champion of new writing. Tell us a bit about your first night, any teasers?

It’s a very quirky and intimate Theatre, isn’t it? We are thrilled that the premiere of ‘Spiral’ is taking place here. Without giving too much away, you can expect to be taken on 7 thrilling journeys by some of London’s finest up and coming writers, actors and directors. 

Actor Awareness likes to address different issues that we feel the industry is lacking to address on a wider scale. In regards to working class actors and people from low income backgrounds furthering themselves in the industry, what do you think are stumbling blocks, issues? any thoughts welcome, shoot…..

To start with, getting the funding for Drama School can be a HUGE stumbling block. It’s so expensive. Unless the training and Drama School is part of a University, where student loans are available, it is extremely difficult and unaffordable for many to attend. Therefore, for the unlucky ones who don’t receive bursaries, it can be an impossible situation. Another issue is the extortionate living prices in London, the hub of the performing arts industry. How are Actor’s expected to pay incredibly high rent whilst also trying to invest in their careers by taking regular classes, having head shots taken and seeing as much Theatre, Film and T.V. as possible? There needs to be more financial support for those wanting to train in this industry. 

Tell us whats in store for Free Rayne Artists?

You can expect more short play nights coming very soon. We are entirely committed to new writing and hope to produce our first full length in the not too distant future! Be sure to follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/freerayneartists) and Twitter (@freerayneartist) for upcoming projects, announcements and opportunities. Stay tuned! 

Tickets for ‘Spiral’ can be accessed through the link on our website: www.freerayneartists.com and/or directly from https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/theatren16

Rob Drummer

What attracted you to theatre growing up? Do you come from a theatrical background?
I don’t have any theatrical family members, nor were there easy routes for me in to the industry.  I definitely knew that theatre inspired me and I found early focus through any opportunities at school.  I grew up on the Isle of Wight and my parents took me to the theatre when they could. Then through school trips and ultimately starting to have a go myself through amateur dramatics I realised I wanted to work within theatre myself.  Looking back now, it was a love of storytelling and sharing that really interested me, as it does to this day.
You have worked at HideTide festival and worked with various names such as Ella Hickson and others, as well as producing stuff on the fringe, now you’re at the Bush as Associate Dramaturg. What have you learnt over the years?
I am still learning definitely but I’ve certainly developed ways of working with writers, how to craft a play and how best to support everyone who is involved.  I’ve been inspired by a diverse group of artists and am lucky to have worked with several on more than one occasion.  I’ve definitely held on to a good humour and see the importance of tailoring the approach to new play development to each new process.  I’ve learnt that you need to be cruel to be kind, speak less and listen more and to remember that audiences are far more intelligent than they are often given credit for.
What do you look for in new writing? it must be varied but what stands out for you?
I am a character man, I’ve always been fascinated by people and I am always looking for extraordinary stories and ordinary people.  I think there are many blind spots in our new writing culture when it comes to who gets to walk in to a play, so I strive to champion those stories, plays and playwrights who are reflecting with honesty our contemporary culture in all of its mess, beauty, chaos and plurality.  It’s tough to quantify sometimes because often when programming we are looking to be surprised but also just for a great story that sets off a chain reaction, from gut to brain, from heart to head.
What excites you about working with new writers?
New writers have the power to put our world on stage as it is, flip it, spin it and reveal to us, in the audience all of our greatest fears, hopes and provoke us to make a change.  It is a great privilege getting to discuss stories every day with talented playwrights who are all looking to tell a truth to a room full of strangers.  I am therefore most excited by curious writers who have huge ambition and those that don’t have all the answers, I think the best theatre stays with you because it has a stealth about it, it grows on you and implicates you long after you have left the theatre.
What advise do you give to writers?
Be brave, bring the world around you in to your plays, increase the stakes and remember the audience are far more intelligent than you are.
The Bush produces some great work, what is the Bush pushing for in the coming years? do you have a personal goal?
We want the plays on our stage and the audience in our theatre to look like the world we live in and for a plural culture to inform all of our work.  We want work that feels ambitious and surprising and to keep developing an audience who are curious about stories that might feel unfamiliar but provoke us.  I personally want to keep championing great new plays and to see them produced on to our stage.
Do feel there is progress with diversity in plays? do you feel you get more plays through your door that represent a true UK?
I think that things are improving as the debate evolves and more and more writers are finding their own way to respond artistically to a debate about diversity.  There is still a long way to go and I am not sure that the scripts that are sitting in the piles around my desk are truly representative but then that is the job. We need to all take collective ownership of the challenges and those of us who work within new writing are directly responsible and most be able to affect the canon. A theatre like the Bush will only ever keep finding new ways to champion and produce the best new plays that reflect the world and culture we live in.
What is your favourite play?
I wish I could pick just one but will keep it to three; I return to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf often for it’s perfect execution and characters and will always hold fond memories of Josephine & I which we produced at the Bush in 2013 and finally Violence & Son at the Royal Court was in my opinion one of the best new plays of recent years.