ALRA, the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, is using its 30th Anniversary to kick-start several new initiatives, often working in partnership with other theatre and film professionals.
Yellow Academy sees ALRA collaborating with Yellow Earth Theatre to promote the idea of formal drama training amongst the East Asian community. Clive Duncan (ALRA) and Jonathan Mann (Co-Artistic Director, Yellow Earth), will be heading out to Manchester, Birmingham, Belfast and London in the Spring of 2010 to hold workshops and audition people for a week's free residential training at ALRA over the summer.
Deaf/BSL courses in Theatre and Film Acting, again completely free to participate thanks to the Learning and Skills Council, are to be led by David Ellington (DRoots Theatre Company) and Samuel Dore (Bursteardrum Films) respectively, again over the summer.
This new burst of energy also involves ALRA's prospective students. Adrian Hall, who's been with ALRA for 4 months after a long stint at Guildford School of Acting as Head of Production, has pushed forward ALRA's commitment to diversity by heading out on the road to audition students in their own colleges.
Everyone knows how expensive it can be to apply for drama school – heading down (or up!) to multiple auditions can cost hundreds of pounds in train fares, and that's before overnighters and the audition fees themselves.
ALRA and GSA each get the chance to see a wider range of students, hopefully uncovering talented young people who might have thought twice about the application process previously
As an alternative, Adrian offers to visit schools and colleges to audition their students on-site, both for ALRA and for GSA. Students know by the end of the day whether they've been offered a place at ALRA, and whether they will go forward to a second audition at GSA. Whilst prospective students save money, ALRA and GSA each get the chance to see a wider range of students, hopefully uncovering talented young people who might have thought twice about the application process previously.
He's already been up to York College, and Winstanley College in Wigan, and heads out West in the New Year to Exeter, Plymouth and Truro.
Adrian also hopes to provide support for teachers with an Inset course in February – ‘Preparing Your Students for Drama School Auditions'. Over 3 days, teachers will go through every aspect of the audition process, and even sit on the panel during a day of ALRA auditions to see how they work from the inside!
It hasn't been all work and no play in ALRA's 30th year though- alumni and friends managed to find time to raise a glass to ALRA's past and future at the ‘ALRA at 30' Gala, held in the beautiful Victorian Great Hall of the School. Usually reserved for fight classes and movement workshops, the Hall, with its gorgeous frescoed ceiling, was allowed to shine, thanks to the hard work of the Stage Management students! 200 alumni, some of whom hadn't seen the school in 20 years or so, took the chance to tour around the building, catch up with old friends, and enjoy a matinee showing of The Jungle Book by the final year Acting students.
Academy of Live and Recorded Arts
Tel: 020 8870 6475
This article is published in Issue 5 of The Drama Student Magazine – subscribe now