Monday, 6 August 2018

Rep Company

Actor Awareness is seeking funding towards piloting ‘The Actor Awareness Company’ which would work towards helping bridge the gap between trained and non trained actors, writers and directors due to the latter predominantly not being able to afford to go to drama school.   
Currently drama schools price out people from low income backgrounds. Before the course even starts the student has to pay an audition fee of between £30- £90 (depending on the school) In no other industry do you pay for essentially a University interview and they have to do this for multiple drama schools, so the costs soon add up. If you do get through the audition process the course fees are around £9,250, Course-related costs may range from £130 to £1,500 per year and Living in London (accommodation, food and travel) is likely to cost £1,050 to £1,340 a monthSo already the financial odds are stacked against you. This is why we want to offer another path into the arts for people who simply cant afford drama school training.
We would manage this company but in a fresh new way. We would offer a hands on approach, they would learn on the job and achieve their dream in a more affordable way.
This Rep modelled company will address the lack of opportunity for young talented and diverse emerging actors and those with a lack of financial means to access drama school.  With increasing drama school fees this is becoming even more important than ever and Actor Awareness believes it is a crucial time to provide repertory company like opportunities and to, in effect, re-invent the Rep company model.
The aim would be to ensure the company recruits and trains emerging artists that are unable to forge a way into the industry due to their background.  We want to provide an alternative route into the industry.
There are limited ways to access drama training and this initiative will provide opportunities to help address this.
Key aims of this project will be to:
  • Support emerging (and young) talent development
  • Address inequality in areas of lack of diversity
  • Provide professional development opportunities through some training opportunities
  • Provide “inside” industry knowledge on how to mount a production, castings and forging a career in the arts.
  • Provide opportunities for new writing to emerge
How we would do this?
  1. We would only use non drama school trained actors, writers and directors. We want to give an alternative to going to drama school and give new up and coming talent an opportunity to work, as they learn their craft.
  2. We would only use new writing that would be sourced through our Actor Awareness scratch nights & festival. The arts do not need more revivals or the same shows essentially telling the same story time and time again, we need stories that reflect our current society.
  3. We would audition around the country ensuring a balance of people from different social and economic backgrounds. Our company would have a range of artists in age, gender, colour and class. We also want to provide a travel allowance to those in real need to enable them to attend the training.
  4. Finally, we would use the Company as a platform for our talent to get picked up by agents, casting directors, theatres, publishers, etc. This is the same as showcase which drama school students get at the end of their training. Everyone would get paid and for most will be their first professional credit.
The company would consist of:
6 resident actors (Sourced through open auditions)
2 resident directors (Open Call out and Scratch nights)
2 resident producers (Tom Stocks and Stephanie Silver)
4 commissioned writers (Sourced from our new writing nights)
This trial project will consist of a 12 week intensive residency, based on the Repertory model, during May/June/July.  6 actors will be employed for the 12 weeks. Over that time the company would produce 3 new shows, all 1 hour duration.  
The process for each 4 weeks is to have 1 week of career professional development opportunities (workshops/masterclasses/introduction to the industry etc), 1 week of early development, 1 week of full rehearsal and a 1 week run (including technical day) in a supported theatre.  Each of the 6 actors would perform in 2 shows during the course of the 12 week residency and the other time they would be expected to work on marketing/stage managing/assisting directing etc to gain an all-round knowledge of producing and performing in a production.
The aim would be to take one of the shows to the Edinburgh Fringe and/or seek out further opportunities for the work if it is felt the potential is there – so as to provide ongoing career progression and work opportunities for the participants.
If successful Actor Awareness will be seeking to roll out this model on an ongoing basis beyond this and would seek industry partners to collaborate to ensure it is sustainable.
We will market our projects and subsequent events through social media (we have 11,000 + followers over all social media platforms), online publications with established bloggers, reviewers and magazines on the London fringe circuit who we regular contact with. Newspapers and Radio stations, local, regional and national and through our industry partners and supporters.