Little Pieces of Gold

suzette

What inspires you about new writing?

I love it.  We hunger for stories and voices that resonate with and validate our own inner lives. New writing does that. It’s an opportunity to see ourselves and our concerns reflected. The new writing scene is vibrant and continually growing and a fantastic opportunity for writers – new or established – to get their work seen and to engage with a community of like minded souls.

Why do you think theatre is important?

My god we need theatre!  It gives space to the grey areas. It’s a container for the shitty, muddled up areas of our lives. It can ask all the questions and doesn’t need to give the answers.

What excites you about theatre as a medium?

The aliveness of it; its ability to transport you; the utter passion, dedication and commitment of those involved; the idea of an audience coming together to find something new.  It can also be very frustrating. Lack of good roles for women, lack of female playwrights on the main stages, the ‘exclusivity’ in terms of lack of access to job opportunities and bloody West End ticket prices!

How did Little Pieces of Gold start?

LPOG started in 2010.  As a writer myself I wanted to collaborate with other theatre makers and make theatre instead of waiting around for something to happen.

What is your aim with Little Pieces of Gold?

Our overall aim is to give a platform to as many new writers as possible and to act as a catalyst for their writing and theatre making careers.  As we’ve grown LPOG has also become a launching pad for directors and another outlet for actors to do what they’re brilliant at.  Through LPOG I’ve been able to meet and produce the work of some very brave and thought provoking playwrights.  For example, last year we produced Sarah Hehir’s first full length play, Child Z about the Rochdale child grooming scandal. And for 2017 we are aiming to produce a new play by award winning Jaki McCarrick. It’s the true story of Eleanor Marx’s relationship with the trade unionist Will Thorne whom she taught to read.  Jaki has called it a feminist ‘King’s Speech’ since Will Thorne had dyslexia and it was Eleanor who helped him to negotiate that in order to read and rise through the ranks of the trade unions. What’s so exciting is that this full-length production evolves out of the short that we commissioned Jaki to write for our recent ‘Class Ceiling’ production.  Going forward LPOG aims to do more of the same but funding is always an issue and much good work just doesn’t get made.

Tell us how Little Pieces of Gold works?

We produce regular new writing nights throughout the year and we normally run an open submission which is advertised on BBC Writersroom and social media.  Sometimes we run themed submissions or I might ‘commission’ a collection of plays from playwrights with whom I’ve worked with previously. We generally receive around 300-400 plays which are all read and then shortlisted. The shortlist is then read by our team of directors who decide which play they wish to take forward. Casting, rehearsals etc is then down to the individual director.  Our shows have a great reputation for the high quality of the writing, directing and acting.  Like all other new writing nights we all work for free. No-one makes any money from these productions.  But it’s a much needed showcase for creatives to hone their skills, network and build up their CVs.   We’ve worked at various venues including Park Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Theatre 503 and the Bread & Roses.

What advice do you give writers submitting to LPG?

Read as many plays and short plays as you can. Attend new writing nights. See for yourselves what makes a good short play.

What do you look for in writing, what makes you keep reading?

The twenty-four million dollar question! You know it when you see it.  But … a strong writer’s voice that comes through on the very first page; un-cliched writing; a unique take on something;

How do directors get involved in LPG?

Check out our website and send in your CV.  I will then arrange to meet with a new director to see if can go forward. The directing team for each showcase generally changes so we’re always looking to meet new directors. 

Actor Awareness is a campaign fighting for diversity in actors from working class backgrounds or low income backgrounds, how do you feel the industry stands at present?

This industry is no different from any other. Access to opportunities is hugely unequal. It is not class envy to say that the dice is loaded. It’s never been any different and it’s getting worse. Getting into a London drama school and paying London rents is one thing. But then afterwards it comes down to having to juggle day-jobs to pay the bills with acting jobs and auditions.  To do this requires an inordinate amount of energy, hope and faith.  And a photographic memory when an audition comes through for the very next day with the expectation that the actor needs to memorise a whole chunk of text.  There is no need for this when audition schedules and spaces are booked in advance. It’s disrespectful towards actors and it perpetuates a situation whereby only actors with the time and resources can give their best.   I love what actors do.  Working class or low income backgrounds or gender and ethnicity should not exclude actors – or writers and directors – from pursuing their chosen career paths.

MickSingPro

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Workshops are designed to be different from other workshops. We are geared towards the ‘1 on 1’ style as opposed to the ‘classroom’ style. We feel this takes the pressure off the actors and gives you more of a realistic mock audition. Every teacher has their own way of running their workshop so not all of them will be 1 on 1 but each workshop will be clearly labeled. 


A usual workshop consists of doing a scene either in pairs or with a reader. These scenes will either be sent out to you beforehand or will be a cold reading. We also aim to film as many workshops as possible with footage sent out after the session. We will also offer the option of you paying a fee of £7 (£10 for 2 scenes) to download your scene after each session to use for your own private use. There will always be a Q & A at the start or end of each session.

The workshops we do are in compliance with the CDG guidelines..micksingproductions.com

Customer review:

Micksingpro is a company that offers workshops in front of casting directors, it attracts top CD’s in the industry such as Sarah Leung, Jeremy Zimmerman, Dan hubbard and more. I have been to a few of the workshops myself and I have always met fantastic people and a supportive environment. It is a place as an actor to flex some sight reading muscles with various scripts and to ask questions directly to CD’s. I have had a few friends get castings from the actual days but don’t relie on this as it creates a false expectation. Enjoy the workshop for what it is, an opportunity to have a bash at audition and script read throughs infront industry professionals who’ll give you some honest feedback.

Some CD’s are very detailed and all of them will provide their email so you can continue to follow up in email with your headshots and cv’s. Each CD before the workshop will cast you off your spotlight/ccp into a scene and a few days before you will be sent a script. Based at The New Diroma with a friendly company it is a good place to go if you have some spare cash. A workshop cost around £35, less if you become a member and they also provide intensive workshops days and agent showcases

Shoot From The Hip

shootfromthehip

Ever been interested in improv, want to see unplanned hilarious action up on stage. Every Monday and Tuesday Shoot From The Hip improvisation team provide shows (FREE ENTRY) that are imaginative witty and inspiring.

Mondays- The Camden Head in Islington, 8-10pm

Tuesdays- The top secret comedy club, Drury lane 8-10pm

You can also catch them at MonolougeSlam bi-monthly at Theatre Royal Stratford East.

They have been described as: ”brillantly funny comedy” Spotlight & ”well worth a shot (pun inteded)” Timeout

Improvisation as an actor is exciting as it creates new ideas and thoughts that aren’t planned, you are always reacting to the other person and having to be present in the scene. For any artist improv is very exciting and can help you nurture your imagination and become more confident.

Shoot From The Hip do 8 week workshops and they start this January, they are reasonably priced.

I have had the pleasure of seeing them and I was in stitches, some of the best improv around!

http://www.shootfromthehipcomedy.co.uk

Email: shootfromthehipcomedy@gmail.com

Call: 07805680323

 

Alexander Technique

Alexander Technique

Frederick Mattias Alexander is the pioneer of the Alexander technique which is taught throughout drama schools and conservatoires and is deemed essential to any actor who wants to work within theatre, especially Shakespearean actors. Frederick lost his voice and through self observation and self correction he found re-aligning his body, correcting habitual bad habits and habitual bad posturing, his voice returned. This is probably a rather simple explanation but what Frederick found was that the voice could be improved through correcting breathing problems that had been developed over the years. Alexander technique requires a journey of self discovery, it is a skill that will help you develop as a actor, singer or just in life, getting rid of tension and stresses of daily life.

Stanislavski understood that excessive tension interferes with creating the spiritual life of the character in performance, the Alexander technique deals with this directly. Often people are inhibited or impeding their progress in developing as an actor and the technique allows you to become aware of your tensions, allowing the you to develop new ways of performing.

The Alexander technique improves posture and movement, which is believed to help reduce and prevent problems caused by unhelpful habits. During a number of lessons you’re taught to become more aware of your body, how to improve poor posture and move more efficiently. The Alexander technique is used and taught by classically trained vocal coaches and musicians. Its advocates claim that it allows for the free alignment of all aspects of the vocal tract by consciously increasing air-flow, allowing improved vocal technique and tone. Alexander realized that people who had been using their bodies wrongly for a long time could not trust their feelings (sensory appreciation) in carrying out any activity.

If you have had no training and want to improve the quality and efficiency of your voice, finding cheap and good classes to help you improve your voice could give you the confidence to go for that role, whether it’s a Shakespeare play or a theatre role that interests you.

CITY LIT are based in Covent garden and they have plenty of reasonable courses. They provide 3 Alexander technique class options for around £100-150. The Academy is well respected and you will get your value for money in quality.

http://www.citylit.ac.uk

Meisner

 

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As actors, we all strive to become better through training that advances our skills whilst simultaneously giving us access to new ones. We will do the utmost to flex our artistic muscles and learn new things in a creative environment.

Training in acting can be very expensive and time consuming. Any aspiring actors, or even working actors, reading this are aware that you need courses, workshops and training that can fit around work/commitments and are also cost effective.

This section will bring you information on courses, workshops, training…pretty much anything we can find that will be within your reach to attend and afford.

Meisner Courses

I attended a Meisner course back in August run by Alex Vendittelli at The Cockpit Theatre (a fantastic fringe theatre that does events from as little as £1).

He is an enthusiastic, knowledgeable and amenable person that engaged us all whilst giving us a good basic knowledge of the Meisner approach. At £100 for 5 weeks, this is a way cheaper alternative than most Meisner courses out there. Meisner is not for everyone – I personally find it to be an amazing approach. It’s such an expressive technique that really helps actors to connect and act on impulse; very organic things grow from Meisner.

Alex is offering readers a chance to attend the drop in sessions for FREE which normally cost £12! In the drop in sessions you don’t participate, but you watch other actors rep; it is a great thing to watch and see the technique in action from an outsiders perspective.

If you fancy a go, pop down for a session. The classes are run weekends and evenings, this link will give you more information: thecockpit.org.uk/class/meisner_technique_drop-ins

Another great Meisner drop in class is the salon:collective’s classes in the technique. They are headed up by Dominic Kelly, who is the artistic director of the salon:collective and has taught the technique for over eight years.

“Meisner Technique emphasizes “moment-to-moment” spontaneity with your acting partner. The goal is to generate behaviour that is emotionally and impulsively truthful within imagined circumstances.”

Drop-in classes:

Completing the introduction course (In order to join the drop-in sessions, beginners must complete the Introduction course first) gives you membership to Dominic’s classes and allows you to practice and develop your Meisner skills in these sessions. We also encourage you to bring scene work, monologues, audition prep and other resources to continue your growth as actors. Before booking please note, the drop-ins are designed as a resource for actors to develop the skills learnt as part of the full Meisner Training, as such you will only be able to work on elements of the Technique you have been trained in as part of the Meisner Technique Stages.

Drop-ins are a great opportunity to be part of the salon:collective’s thriving community of actors and artists.

“Acting is fun. Don’t let that get around.” – Sanford Meisner