Written by Siân Dyer
Mature student on the Part Time Evening Acting Course Oct – Dec 2020
Tuesday 6 October: I am in my car on the M25 driving to London to Drama Studio London and I’m a little nervous and uncertain as to what to expect. I am told its perfectly acceptable to be doing the course at my age but somewhere inside those doubts are having a party.
I am 55 years of age. I have spent most of my life as a lawyer (they say that lawyers are failed actors - a remark I tend to make a lot to hide my bashfulness about my new hobby). At least my two children have grown to the point where it’s impossible for me to be any more embarrassing. Still they are vaguely intrigued by my new activity (albeit for about 5 minutes) whereas my husband – well – let’s just say a little more broad mindedness would have been appreciated. But quite frankly, pottery, painting etc., that sort of thing just didn’t excite me.
I arrive without difficulty. DSL was thankfully very accessible and, miracle of miracles in London, in the evening we’re allowed to park in the car park. So far, so good. I am early, obviously (to get it over with as soon as possible and retreat to my kitchen in Surrey to comfort nibble). I enter the building and immediately feel at home in this lovely old Victorian Villa. I am met at once by the Head of School and our lovely teacher for the day who are so welcoming that my anxieties actually begin to dissipate.
12 weeks ago I began my journey. We were a group of eight women who are all incredibly friendly and supportive of one another. The sessions have been very varied, sometimes challenging and frankly lots of fun. We started with theatre games and have covered such a huge variety of subjects from TV acting, to adverts, to physical theatre, voice, text analysis, Characterisation, Devising, Improv, with the likes of various playwrights including Chekhov, Shakespeare, Byron and Dickens woven in. I even spent one session crawling around the floor as a Black Widow Spider (There is a certain amount of physicality - thank goodness for lock down zoom gym - but I suppose I could have chosen to be a sloth).
Towards the end of the course we started working on a performance consisting of dance and extracts from the play Top Girls by Caryl Churchill, and on the 16 December this was live streamed to friends and family! The play enabled us to put into practise everything we had learned and gave a tremendous sense of achievement.
I have been introduced to so many new things and learnt so much on this short course. I can honestly say I have enjoyed it all and I am so grateful to the very experienced, kind and patient professionals who taught us. I look forward to starting my next course at DSL whether that is the Part Time Intermediate course, or maybe even the 1 Year Diploma.