(Post from 2012)
The most amazing, crazy, terrifying, fabulous thing is happening! As of mid September I am embarking on probably the most important, yet nerve wracking adventure of my career. I have been accepted to study a 1 year Masters degree course in Theatre Lab at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Aside from still being in complete shock I am of course ecstatic!
As some of you know I never went to Drama School because I was lucky enough to start professional work straight out of college. I've covered this in previous blog posts and I've explained that not having a 3 year Bachelors degree from an accredited Drama School has definitely affected the way my career has developed. I cannot say it has had a detrimental effect to my career because over the past decade I've had some really great jobs, but I will say that it has possibly affected the type of work I have been offered or am being offered at this point.
I have attended various short courses over the years both in the UK and America. I have spent a lot of time, money and effort on trying to develop my skills as much as possible so that I could could 'catch up' as it were, to Drama Graduates. I have done - I feel - as much as I can on my own to develop my career. I have taken myself as far as I can go holding my own hand, but now I have definitely hit that pesky glass ceiling. For whatever reason the challenges just aren't coming in anymore. The type of work I feel I should be getting at this stage of my career, just isn't swinging my way. I'm stuck in step 3 when I really should be moving onto step 4,5 and 6.
Now forgive me - but I didn't come this far to give up at step 3. I have made myself (and my poor mum) penniless by this career (so if you're feeling generous and want to help with my fees feel free to sponsor my blog by pressing the button top right of the page). I've been eaten alive by bedbugs literally from head to toe from having to stay in vile, grotty places whilst working. I’ve been spat at with real spit (ask Jimmy Akingbola). I've performed with a smile on my face, suffering torn muscles and an injured spine. I've lost both friends and relationships to this career path. I've been discriminated against, bullied (they tried) and treat like scum. I have given this calling everything I have, blood, sweat and tears! I've been to hell and back a million times, knocked down and I STILL keep getting back up for more - because when you have the fire of the storyteller inside your belly you simply have no choice but to pursue it - and 'I'm bout that life', so damn straight! I intend to do whatever I can - to get me where I feel I need to be after this much effort.
I've always said that you do NOT need to have attended Drama School to work and I've proven that so far. BUT! I am now resigned to that fact that I need an extra bit of oompf! behind me to take me further - you know a bit more ammo! I'm 2 foot tall so unfortunately I can't rely on my good looks and charm alone. There are much more aesthetically pleasing women out there who have taken all of the 'looks' train tickets. I can't rely on my talent alone because although I know I already have something and perhaps to a certain extent I am good enough without the MA - what does it matter how good you are if you cannot be seen or if nobody is willing to give you a chance? So this is why I have decided to do the MA, to see if training is the clincher.
I'm not gonna lie of course I chose RADA for its grandeur and association with being one of the best Drama Schools in the World. Having it on my CV won't look too shabby, but I also chose it because I have always wanted to train there. They have a great reputation and have turned out some really great Actors such as Anthony Hopkins, Sean Bean, Ashley Madekwe, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, who have all done some truly great work - work that I want to do! I already know and have worked with some of the teachers from RADA on other projects and they are fabulous, their teaching skills are second to none (which you'd expect from such an establishment). I have always respected the school's work ethic and history and to sound cheesy and cliched - this was my destiny.
Now what to expect? (Besides COST! - £10,000)
We've all heard the horror stories of Drama Schools breaking you down to nothing and building you back up again - whatever that means?! How they change you and perhaps mold you into some kind of thespian zombie and release you back into the world ready to mash up some Chekov, but lacking the previous social skills and personality you once possessed. So yeah - I am worried as to what they are actually going to 'do' to me when I get there. I'm a tough northern soul and I'm not ashamed to say I'm stubborn and can be very set in my ways. It's taken a while, but I'm at the stage where I quite like me and I don't actually want to change... but they told me in no uncertain terms in their posh yet terrifying RADA voice "You must be willing to change" - gulp! How much "changing" can one do in a year?! Guess I'm going to find out.
I'm scared! But this is definitely going to be an investment and the challenge I was after. I will be in the arms of experts and I am looking forward to the breathing space of education once again. I will be getting top class education and it's going to be tough but I'm ready for it! I'm ready for my floppy Morrissey hair cut. I'm ready for them to dissect every deep dark secret of my life and have me cry in front of complete strangers. I'm ready to roll around on the floor and make animal sounds - my old bones might not be but I am! I'm ready to be told that actually - I'm not as 'ready' as I thought I was! I am ready to be part of the "RADA darling RADA" clique.
BRING IT ON!