I’ve just joined Mountview Academy of Theatre on a part-time jobshare with my colleague Rebecca Jewel (highly experienced actors agent and co-founder of Ladida management). Together we are the Industry Liaison Office, a job tackled with amazing dedication and skill over many years by Yvonne I’Anson. Its quite an act to follow, and we are just getting to grips with how best to support actors under pressure as they reach the end of training and present themselves to a welcoming audience. Or at least Rebecca and I hope they are welcoming. Last night I saw the first of 4 shows which will give each of the 3rd year acting students a chance to shine before Christmas – Cressida by Nicholas Wright was given a really enjoyable production by director Simon Evans and designer Fi Russell in the specially created atmosphere of the Karamel Club in Wood Green. An enthusiast audience of fellow actors, tutors, and guests enjoyed being a whisper space away from the actors in their 1630s world of seedy glamorous boy players of the London theatre.
Each actor has gone through 2 years of classes and private performances, and now they burst onto the stage and hope there will be an agent, a producer, a theatre manager, or a casting director out there beyond the footlights who will smile kindly upon them, and give them opportunities to be paid and work professionally. It’s a scary business being played out on studio stages across London, Glasgow, Manchester, Oxford, Bristol and beyond for the next few months. There’ll be more productions from our actors in the spring and summer, and It will culminate for each school with a showcase where agents sit in the dark as tiny vignettes of brilliance shine upon them, delight them, and make them take notice. That is the most public of scary moments for most actors.
But for now, under the new leadership of Stephen Jameson (hot from LAMDA) a gathering of high quality freelance directors, designers and teachers prepare the 3rd years for productions which you, dear Whatsonstage reader, are most welcome to attend. They are not just hidden private showings. The productions are there for all to see, and they can be a delight. If you’ve never seen Cressida or Jeffrey Hatcher’s Compleat Female Stage Beauty (which became the Richard Eyre 2004 movie), or Stephen Jeffreys The Libertine or Playhouse Creatures by April de Angelis – then now’s your chance through to Christmas. Check out www.mountview.org.uk
Why go out to Wood Green, or across to the Bernie Grant Centre, or Riverside to see a bunch of students. Well very simply within each bunch of students are stars in the making, and bubbling exciting talent which might delight you in the future. And if you are an agent or producer then there might be someone there who could fit your requirement and make you money. (A very rich agent or producer is what all of us want to entertain, because their riches are caused by creating great work, and getting actors in lots and lots of work). So please hop in a cab, a tube, or a chauffeured limo (not provided) and come away from the glamour of the West End into the seedy world of 1630s London. 7pm shows, down by 9pm, in time to have a drink with the cast, pick up a cv and headshot, wander back to the tube and be back for a nice supper with friends post show at The Ivy or Joe Allen’s.
Think of the actors (and the industry liaison offices) across the land making invitations to you at this time…get out of the office and see what’s heading into the spotlight.