The Return of Nativity Plays in Schools

Nativity Plays

Christmas tends to be a huge talking point in primary schools, not least because it provides a great opportunity to get children engaged with new and exciting activities. School nativity plays have been a staple of many school calendars for decades, although over the past 10 to 15 years it hasn’t necessarily been quite as traditional as it used to be.

As the religious significance of Christmas and even the nativity story itself has been dulled over the years, many end-of-year school plays started to become more varied and generic. Much of this shift has been put down to being more inclusive for children who don’t come from Christian backgrounds. Many of these alternative Christmas plays for schools would be focused around other, more modern festive characters such as reindeer, snowmen, elves and so on.

However, recently there has apparently been more of an interest in the more traditional religious stories instead. Companies that produce and sell nativity plays for schools, usually offering traditional and non-religious options, have reported over the past few years that stories based on the birth of Christ have significantly risen in popularity again. On average, these traditional nativities have increased in popularity by up to 25% over the past few years. Continue reading “The Return of Nativity Plays in Schools”

Courses, Classes and Tips To Improve Your Acting Skills

If you want to improve your personal skills when it comes to acting, whether it’s theatre drama you’re interested in, screen acting or any other specialism, there are plenty of different things you can try to gain experience, knowledge and qualifications. Not only can you choose to tackle a range of different course formats at various institutions in the UK, but there are many less formal things you can do besides in order to build up your skills. Here are just a few ideas to consider.

Take a one-year or two-year course. Many full time courses offer everything you need to gradually develop your talent over a year or more. Film drama courses and film acting classes in London are particularly popular, though they are competitive. Despite that, a full-time, intensive course may be the best way for you to get all the background knowledge and one-on-one tutoring you need to become a trained actor.

Take a crash course. Alternatively, if you aren’t able or ready to commit to a full time educational option but you want to learn the essential basics fast, a crash course might be enough for you. Often these may be around one week long, giving you a solid introduction to the theory behind acting for TV or theatre, as well as a great chance to practice. Continue reading “Courses, Classes and Tips To Improve Your Acting Skills”

Alternative Day Jobs For Actors

Alternative Day Jobs For Actors Top logo

If you’re in the acting profession, it’s likely that you will need another job (or more than one) to keep you busy and pay the bills in between gigs. Maybe you’re waiting for your big break and you need something to tide you over until that comes, but you want to be making good use of your performance talents in some shape or form.

Children’s Entertainer

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but perhaps you’ll find that being an actor lends itself well to getting into character for providing the entertainment at kids’ parties. You don’t have to be a clown to create a popular character, and you could make more money than you think. There’s no shortage of great children’s entertainers in Manchester and similar cities around the UK where a relatively high proportion of people are interested in the arts.

Copywriter

If your main strength lies in writing stories or scripts, you might find that freelance work as a writer works for you. A little practice in any niche can allow to write like an expert in many different fields, which is great for businesses looking for quick and professional copy for any purpose.

Promo Modelling

You don’t need to look like an actual model to do this – in fact, looking like an unremarkable, average human being might be ideal. You can get work posting for photographs or events, and although there might be no prizes for acting talent, it’s easy money when you can find it.

Graphic /Website Design

If you have a bit of creative flair, you can probably turn your hand to any artistic skill. This may include design, whether this is for printed promotional materials or online use. You could even start designing company branding and logos, or turn your hand to website design if you have the basic technical skills. It’s possible to teach yourself and learn quickly in this field.

Interior Design

A different profession you might be able to turn your creative hand to is interior design. Most people with a talent for acting tend to be well suited to other artistic professions, and this is one of the highest paid options. It’s worth a try, and if you find you have a great eye for décor and furnishings, this could be the ideal second career for you.

Restaurant Staff

Okay, maybe this isn’t at the top of your wish list for a long term career, but it is a known fact that many people looking to become famous performers start out at a restaurant or behind a bar. This does give you the chance to practice some of your vital acting skills, like remembering long lists of special requirements when taking orders and perhaps even keeping people entertained while they wait for their food.

Theme Parks

This job is ideal for anyone who loves improvising and entertaining people. Working as a character in a theme park can be a lot of fun, and it’s an opportunity to try out your skills on a captive audience if you can corner a group while they’re waiting for a ride.

Event Security

If you have the skills and mindset, you could try out working as a security guard for live shows and other events at local venues. If you’re not quite built for that, maybe try something like collecting tickets or another hospitality role. This might help you make more contacts in the local entertainment scene, plus you get to see shows for free and potentially pick up tips.

Sales and customer service

In pretty much any customer-facing role, you’ll be able to try your hand at improvising on the spot and staying “in character” while dealing with potentially tricky people. Whether you’re answering the phone, working face-to-face on a checkout or managing a department in a retail environment, you’ll have plenty of chances to work on your speaking and presentation.

Speaking Naturally While In Character

Many people, even professional actors, are stuck with the notion that they have to adopt a strange voice when getting into character and performing. There is a sense that you’re not really acting if your voice sounds completely normal, but this is definitely an over-simplification of what it means to act and it actually rarely helps at all. In many cases, adopting a “character” voice can simply make your performance sound a lot more wooden and less convincing. Here are some tips and common problems in this area.

Don’t be too tense

Relaxing your jaw and neck is very important if you want to sound natural when you speak. You can sometimes even see from looking at someone’s face from a distance that they’re tensing their facial muscles unnaturally. Your speech will sound much better if you can train yourself not to do this. Good posture also helps you project your voice which is essential in theatre work.

Don’t over-simplify your character

Even characters that seem somewhat simple will come across much better if you allow them to have depth and complexity when you speak. Your voice gives you infinite ways to express yourself, so try to make as much use of it as possible. Never restrict a character to a stereotypical, laboured voice unnecessarily.

Don’t compensate for yourself

It’s hard to hear our own voices sometimes, and we tend to be highly self-critical. However, you are not necessarily the best person to make a judgement on this when you’re trying to play a character. Don’t let your own insecurities influence how you play a character.

Let the audience engage with you

Above all, the benefit of being as natural as possible is that you’ll come across as a human being that your audience can actually connect with. Whatever emotion they feel towards your character, this is only possible when they’re able to suspend disbelief and feel as if you really are that person, rather than an actor giving a robotic performance.

Diversity in British Drama Schools

There has been a lot of talk recently about the levels of diversity, or lack thereof, within the theatre industry in the UK. Many people and studies have highlighted the fact that stage schools, productions and professions throughout the industry are still predominantly white, with little being done to encourage diversity and some examples of specifically discriminatory behaviour being reported. We’ve found some interesting viewpoints while debating the subject this month, including the following.

Do the arts promote diversity? It is obviously good to see governments supporting the arts. This is especially important when local authorities are modelling ever deeper cuts to their arts provision, and there is significant fear associated with the future of arts education in schools.

However, there are problems in the rhetoric surrounding the celebrations of art history A level. The fundamental problem with connecting the arts to social mobility and workforce diversity is that this connection is seriously undermined by almost all the available social scientific evidence.”

The article above opens discussing the benefits of government support for the arts, including theatre specifically, but criticises the arts on the whole for “maintaining social divisions” as opposed to challenging them.

This perspective is particularly interesting, since it is supported by a surprising amount of archaic evidence. Based on the social class, attitudes and actions of the people who facilitate education within the arts sector, and looking at the disproportionate numbers of people studying and working in the field from privileged backgrounds, it’s not hard to make a link which directly counteracts the point of the original government statement being discussed.

In the last week there has been significant buzz generated on social media after a report was released on the state of diversity in the UK, backed by Andrew Lloyd Webber who made some damning comments blaming drama schools for the problem.

Call to action after theatre industry branded “hideously white” “Leading theatre directors have called on the British Asian community to do more to support performers and writers after a damning report branded the industry “hideously white”. The report, commissioned by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, said the odds are “stacked against minorities” as the lead actor is often white.”

The report looked in detail at the actors in London theatre productions as well as the demographics they were catering to. It found that extremely high proportions of people were white and from privileged backgrounds in both cases. Meanwhile, opportunities for black and Asian actors, among other minorities, were found to be few and far between.

On the other hand, many people still strongly believe in the power of drama, theatre and the arts in general as a force for bringing people together across social boundaries. In many instances it is certainly true that the impact of people from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds being on stage or on screens cannot be underestimated. The problem appears to surround the fact that opportunities for this to happen are too rare.

 

Why Superhero Movies Are Still Exploding In Popularity

If you look at the most popular movies released so far this year, and certainly the ones with the biggest marketing budgets, you might notice a trend. In fact, this isn’t much of a new development. In the past five years or so, superhero movies seem to have rapidly accelerated in terms of popularity and the rate that they’re being launched. But what’s happening here?

One thing’s for sure: comic book characters are firmly back in fashion, including many that never really cracked the mainstream until recently. The likes of Deadpool and Harley Quinn would have been barely known a couple of years ago for audiences who only know their comic book heroes and villains through big screen adaptations. Now they’re both set to be two of the most popular Halloween costumes of 2016, and their images (at least, those of their newest incarnations played by Ryan Reynolds and Margot Robbie respectively) have quickly risen to iconic status.

Perhaps some of this can be put down to nostalgia for comic books – simpler times, when entertainment was in the form of paper books (remember books?) and couldn’t be streamed over the internet. If you paid for a subscription, you had to wait at least a whole week for someone to literally deliver your next instalment to your door – a foreign concept to anyone raised on the likes of Hulu, Netflix and online piracy. So maybe not so much nostalgia, since most of the audience for these movies never got the memo about these characters the first time round. Then what? Continue reading “Why Superhero Movies Are Still Exploding In Popularity”

Tips for auditioning for musical theatres

The first process of entering a musical theatre is through auditioning. We all know how daunting and exciting the experience can be. All the judges will have their eyes set on you, so it’s important you plan and prepare for a successful audition. So we’ve come up with the following list below with some tips and tricks you can use for your final preparations.

Research about the role

The first step is to find out what the judges are looking for in an audition. All auditions have different rules or require a particular theme or act. Be sure you have a clear idea of this. Otherwise, you won’t even pass the first stage. Due to the audition being a theatrical music audition, we already know that they require the main ingredients. These elements involve dancing, singing and acting.

Choose the best materials that go well with your talent

When you know the requirements for the audition, you can then find the equipment you need. The material you pick must go strongly with your talents. For instance, the audition requires an upbeat song. So find a song that you already know and be sure it is related to the theme. If you are familiar with a song, then you are most likely to perform with comfort. Continue reading “Tips for auditioning for musical theatres”

10 Ways On How to Be a Good Stage Actor

Have you ever wanted to start acting, or do you just require a few pointers on acting? In any case, making these straightforward strides will enhance you as a performer, and also improve your odds at finding an awesome part!

1. Relax. Incredible artists spend their whole vacations figuring out how to unwind the muscles in their face and body freely. The strain is extremely evident when you are in front of an audience. Your voice will sound thin and faltering, and your developments will be jerky and ugly.

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2. Focus your consideration on something in front of an audience. It could be another on-screen character, a prop, and so forth. Keep yourself at the time and never gaze vacantly at anything in particular. It is evident to the group of onlookers if you are dividing out, and it is exceptionally diverting. Keeping at the time empowers you to stay in character and upgrades the trustworthiness of the part and the play itself.

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3. Do whatever it takes not to play with your garments or utilize different anxious motions. Simply take a gander at the back of the theater or your center point if you are tense. Investigating the eyes of your kindred performers can console and let you feel not Continue reading “10 Ways On How to Be a Good Stage Actor”

8 Helpful Hints for KS2 Christmas Musicals

School Production

Here are some tips and ideas for putting on a Christmas show for kids:

1. Numerous schools do entire school plays and singing. I need to say that ordinarily, guardians are more satisfied when every class does a piece independently. They know when their youngster is going ahead, and can see their tyke perform without vast hordes of understudies. This way every class is given its opportunity to sparkle. There is dependably a considerable measure of assortment like this, so the guardians don’t get exhausted.

2. Keep it short! This is simpler for you and the possibility of it going easily are expanded. Keep the entire show between 40 minutes and 60 minutes, if conceivable. Attempt to have the slightest conceivable time between ‘acts’, as well.

3. Keep it basic, particularly with the more youthful kids.

4. Charming is great! If you can have the guardians chuckling or wiping tears from their eyes that’s a victory.

5. Do what your class (and you) are great at. On the off chance that you sing a considerable measure with your class, sing in the show. If You do the verse and choral discourse, do that. If you move in PE, that is an alternative. Doing something that you don’t normally do makes it a great deal more troublesome. Continue reading “8 Helpful Hints for KS2 Christmas Musicals”