Sunday, 1 June 2014

HEATHER: THE PERKS OF BEING A DRAMA STUDENT!

Do you love acting and drama? We talked to reader Heather about what it's like to take part in professional stage shows... 


Heather says:
I'm fourteen and I've always loved acting. When i was younger my granddad used to take me to pantomimes every Christmas... I adored them and admired the actors hugely. I was always writing my own plays and stories and from the age of five or six, my cousin and I would act the stories out, regularly putting on plays for the family. Mum said I always had the ability to make the audience laugh or cry, to make them feel whatever emotion my character was feeling. By the time I got to secondary school, my passion for drama was stronger still. Every week in drama class I'd discover new skills and week after week my confidence would grow.

My drama  teacher was a huge inspiration - she taught me so much and also pushed me to audition for stage productions, and showed me that you can never give up. I found the courage to try to audition, and something remarkable happened; I got a part in two pantomimes with a casting company. I was overjoyed - and had so much fun playing the part of a cheeky munchkin! Next I auditioned for a part in the musical Grease at the Liverpool Empire and got the part - that was a summer to remember. The company who'd put on the Wizard of Oz were recruiting again so I gained another part, and then came my biggest production to date, Sister Act with the Empire Youth Theatre. I was playing a nun and it meant almost a year's worth of rehearsals to put on a phenomenal show. the reviews were out of this world - I was seriously in shock! I'm now working on a production of Cats and am very excited about that!

Auditions are very stressful and nerve-wracking. You have to be mentally prepared and memorise your lines, but also look relaxed and try to keep your cool. There will be times when you're not successful (I've had a couple) but you have to stay strong and keep on trying. What's the use of giving up? Taking part in a stage production is never plain sailing; you have to be dedicated and committed. There is no point in going through all the auditions if you then fail to turn up for rehearsals or don't prepare properly or work hard enough. You have to really WANT it, and to do everything in your power to keep the creative team happy. Working in shows like these is obviously a boost for my career, but I do it mainly because I enjoy it. My dream for the future is to turn my acting into a career, and my back up plan is to be a writer.

Cathy says:
Wow... Heather's account brings the whole world of theatre to life - and makes me understand how much hard work goes into a stage production! COMMENT BELOW if you have dreams of acting too... or if you'd like to ask Heather anything!

6 comments:

  1. I wanted to be an actor when I was younger. I was part of the Moffat Youth Theatre which is (to the best of my knowledge) the only purpose built youth theatre in Scotland. I started going when I was 5 and got quietly kicked out when I was 16 or 17 - I guess I was no longer classed as a youth. Anyway, acting is something I'm passionate about and apparently rather good at. I played Agnes in The Golden Jubilee when I was 7 and managed to reduce half the audience to tears just by looking sadly at them. Hopefully they were not tears of boredom. The Golden Jubilee was my first taste of fame - a TV crew came to interview us and it was on the news. I've no idea why. I've starred in several plays such as Hamlet and Beowulf (I was the monster - can't remember his name - and displayed extraordinary self control as, when I had to lie on the floor, being dead, someone stood on my foot. I didn't move or make any noise, I just made a mental note to kick the offender later) as well as many plays written by our good selves. We tried to film Macbeth and we were going to show it as a movie but halfway through the summer, the Signposting Centre, where the video camera was being kept flooded. Macbeth really is unlucky. Fun stuff though. I love the atmosphere backstage, the props and costumes and the banter we have with other actors. But would you believe, I've never been in a school play? Unless you count the time I played the glockenspiel in the nativity in P6. The school plays are always musicals. As I was not a popular kid (the only ones who got parts, regardless of acting ability or lack thereof) I would just get shoved in the chorus if I even got a part at all and what use is that to a deaf girl? Unable to hear your own voice and have awful balance problems? Great, you can sing and dance and do no acting whatsoever. So, despite having a B in Higher Drama *looks smug* I've realised I'm never going to get anywhere with acting. I may continue it as a hobby but I fear all the acting clubs for adults will be pretentious and stuck up and probably really competitive as well. And, of course, they'll only put on musicals. Because apparently, no one's heard of Shakespeare any more. Sorry for going on and on and on and on. I'm not good at shutting up.
    Blue. :-)

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    1. Blue, you don't have to be an actress to be involved in drama. You could run your own company or teach drama.......the options are endless. Emma :)

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  2. When I am older I plan to be drama teacher because what is the point in doing something you don't put your heart and soul into.Something that "Brings in the money?" We have one shot at life and I am going to make myself unforgettable!!!!! Emma :)

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  3. My acting is quite strong but I'm not that confident. If my book 'Two Voices' were ever made into a movie I would HAVE to play teenage Bridget! I would totally make myself a better actress so I could do it! ;)

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  4. The thing I like about acting is that when you're on stage, it doesn't matter who you actually are, you are just a character in a play. You can kind of lose yourself in the character.

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  5. I'm doing GCSE drama, which so far has been really fun (although I've only had one lesson, so, well I've not had that much to judge on yet!) and have been doing LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) exams, well, working towards them, and that has helped build my acting skills, but also my confidence. I used to be really quiet, but now I can't shut up! Anyway, I would really like to make acting a career, and am auditioning for a part in my school production (you've got to start somewhere!) but as I have no talent at singing, and my school always puts on musicals, I'm not likely to get very far. But I'll give it a go, and hey, you never no, maybe secretly I am good at singing and have just never released that talent before! (Although, maybe not....... lol!)

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