So, you’ve finally taken the leap and are enrolled in Associated Studios (or one on the many other great drama schools London has to offer). Fantastic! You’ve got one of the greatest cities in the world on your doorstep, but you’re busy with your acting classes. London isn’t going to hang around waiting for you to get your act together.
And we’re not just talking beaten-track, frills and follies tourism. No way. When you’ve got your groceries, finished your reading and completed all your practice and preparations for your acting classes, London has a lot it can offer the astute performer looking for ongoing development. Here are our Top 5 Things London Can Do For Your Career…
- London Gives You Access To The Greatest Theatre In The World. Seeing shows is an important part, not just in your development as a performer, but also in helping you understand how the industry works, and more importantly who does what kind of work. So go and see some theatre! This may sound obvious, but it’s not uncommon to hear our students complain of lack of funds. Please, don’t let that alone stop you. Besides the many great offers open to all (like the National’s £15 Travelex scheme), lots of theatres have deals for those lucky enough to be under 26. Others will offer returns, on the night, for as little as a £5, and the Globe offers all standing tickets, for all shows, for a fiver too. And if that’s too much, we’ve known more than a few who turn up at the interval of a show, see which seats are empty and take them for the second half. Half a show is better than no show. And here’s another tip: join mailing lists and book early for the best deals. Some theatres have reasonably priced ‘priority memberships” which will pay for themselves the first time you get access to a discounted ticket. Consider clubbing together with a two of three friends and joining one each.
- London Has Some of The Best Fringe Theatre Too. See above and see some fringe. Get to know the venues, the kind of work they do and who casts their shows. Unlike smaller cities in the UK, the fringe in London is big enough and good enough to count. Agents come and see these shows regularly, and some have all their shows reviewed by national broadsheets. It amazes us how many aspiring actors have no idea what or where The Finborough is, or have never been to the Southwark Playhouse.
- London’s Theatres Have World-Renowned Development Schemes. Aside from the Old Vic’s ‘New Voices’ program, there are many others that are worth being aware of before you need to join, and those you should be familiar with even if you’re not eligible. The National Theatre Studio’s ‘Staff Director’ program is worth following so you know who, in the National’s view’ are the most interesting emerging directors of the moment. Similarly, The Bush has a long-established program for directors that is worthy of your time.
- Galleries, Museums, Libraries & Independent Cinemas If you can’t be inspired by the hustle and bustle of central London, sanctuary and stimulation can be found in the city’s galleries, museums and libraries. Art and so artists cannot exist in a vacuum; see as many exhibitions and cultural expressions as you can. There is so much ‘free’ culture in London that there is no financial argument for missing out.
- London is connected to the rest of UK, Europe and the World. Take all the above and apply to any other city in the UK and Ireland: Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dublin are all worth a visit. Then there’s the countryside, if you need to take some deep breaths and reflect on your experience in drama school. London can be tough, and a change is as good as a rest. Maybe even consider booking a short trip to Paris. And don’t feel that you can’t invite us!