Peter Craze became the Principal of Drama Studio London in 2003 after its founder Peter Layton retired after running the school for 37 years. He talks to TDS about keeping the school fresh in an ever-changing climate.
I want Nicholas Hytner to come here and hear my students because we value voice work here highly
You stepped into some important shoes when you took over from Peter Layton.
Well I'm sure there hasn't been a principal, certainly in London, of that long, it's amazing. When he went it was the right time, it was right personally and in a sense the school has changed enormously, not just because I took it over, but there was things that needed changing, to do with the whole format of training students. There's always new things that you're adding in to equip the students with. It's been a traditional school, and I've hung on to that tradition very much in the wake of Nicholas Hynter's statement recently. It is just a one year programme but a full, full term, 44 week, year. And they do a lot of traditional, classical, Shakespeare, Restoration and voice work. Plus, all the modern media such as showreels and voice tapes. I want Mr Hytner to come here and hear my students because we value voice work here highly.
Does this school do loads of academic writtten work like he generally suggests?
Not at all. There isn't time. Some students can elect to do a Trinity Diploma.
You used to be an atctor and professional director. Has that helped in your role here?
I've always kept the acting and directing. I still do some acting, I think it's very important. The whole thing about Drama Studio London is it's very much a network. It's a network in training for the business. The last thing I did was a movie for Peter Howitt, who wrote and directed Sliding Doors. He was a student here thirty years ago. I really believe it's important I know what we're training the students for and the best way to do that is by doing some acting. I mean there isn't a lot of time and I direct outside quite a bit. It takes a lot of time running the school, but also keeping myself professionally connected.
I agree a professional network with the school is essentntial.
Oh absolutely and it changes so fast. I actually bring people in with skills that I don't have, particularly internet casting and things like that. The students need to know about it and I need to learn about it. We very much encourage our students to form their own companies. The days of the agent dominated career is very much taken a back seat now, it's very much hand-in-hand of what you create yourself.
Read the full published article in issue 2 of The Drama Student Magazine.