Top Ten Reasons to Learn Acting as an Adult.

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When we are children or when we have them our evenings and weekends are often dominated by extracurricular classes. As a child, I tried…. horse riding, ballet, Irish dancing, singing, guitar, and of course speech and drama. Notice the total absence of any sports activities, it was clear early on I was more artistic than athletic. I was very fortunate to be able to attend drama after school as it completely shaped my future. Especially as there was no drama or music at my school, I still feel hard done by when I hear about TY musicals! 

Usually, our list of extracurriculars gets smaller and smaller as we age. Until as a teenager we only attend the one we feel really passionate about or none at all. This is frequently a side effect of our secondary school’s atrocious amount of homework and the stern emphasis on the leaving cert’s importance. But once we’ve finished school, finished college (if we choose to go) we have that time back (to a degree) but we rarely consider using it for an adult “extracurricular.” I feel that is a missed opportunity and so I’m proposing the top 10 reasons adults should take an acting class.

1. Confidence

Completing acting exercises and gaining performance skills builds confidence in students of all ages. Being pushed past our comfort zone and being asked to be a little bit silly helps us become less self-conscious. This new found confidence will improve every aspect of our life’s outside of the arts.

2. Meet New People

It can be so difficult to make new friends as an adult and an acting class is a brilliant place to meet open minded people. Nothing builds friendships better than bonding over a funny improv session or a stressful show week!

3. Improve Public Speaking

Have an important presentation at work? Having trouble with your th’s ? Have to give a best man speech? Acting classes can help improve your public speaking and posture, leaving you prepared for all of these instances and more.

4. Improve your Imaginative Thinking

Acting classes build our creative skills by asking us to view the world from another perspective and think outside of the box. This skill can be implemented into all areas of your life, allowing you to problem solve more creatively.

5. A Safe Space to Play

It may sound cliché but through arts we really can connect with our inner child. It is a safe place to experiment creatively through play. It’s an escapist space where the only goal is to create and learn, which can be refreshing especially if you work in a very practical field.

6. Me Time

As an adult we can have so many commitments to work, relationships, family and friends that we don’t take time for ourselves. Taking an hour or two each week to attend a class for yourself can help solidify our identity in a new setting. It is so important to have something that is just for you.

7. Empathy

As actors we have to analyze text and learn to empathize and connect with the characters we are playing. Often these characters are very different to us, they may be from a different background, culture or even decade. This encourages us to empathize with others and view the world from several perspectives.

8. New Plays and Films

Through acting classes you will be introduced to many plays and films that may be completely new to you. Through studying acting and text analysis you’ll also appreciate these works and others even more.

9. Shine on Stage

The adrenaline rush you feel just after your five minute call is like no other. The nerves, the excitement and the build up is all so wonderful. Whether it’s performing on an actual stage or in the rehearsal room it’s an experience everyone should have at least once.

10. You could be a Star in the Making!

You may have always wanted to give an acting career a go but other things got in the way. Now is your chance, it’s never to late.

Stages of Arts Applications

Blog, Monthly Blog

This is a busy time of year for artists of all disciplines for sure. Reason being, applications! Whether applying through the Arts Council, upcoming festivals, bursaries or any other type of funding, the summer months seem to be peak times with numerous applications opening and deadlines assigned by the new time. Here are just some of the stages of completing said applications; 

  1. Optimism: You get a notification, another application is open. You take an in-breath and… It actually doesn’t look so bad. Seems straight forward, you have all your info easily ready and the deadline is in two weeks! It’ll be done in a day, for sure!
  1. Confusion: Wait a minute… You stumble upon a section with complex wording/a question that can mean one thing or the opposite (may not affect the application, but it just might) or just something you swear is written by an alien. You ask around, get advice and hooray! Problem solved! Moving onto the next section.
  1. Procrastination: Pubs are open again, the sun is out, you wish you could go but you’re just soooo busy with this application… In reality, you’re messing with your hair, your bestie is distracting you with funny animal videos, you’ve found out that new series has started and have now started to scrub the stubborn stain off the mantelpiece. You PROMISE you’ll get back to it when you’re done… Yeah… 
  1. Panic: You’ve been at the laptop for 3 hours, you can’t remember when you’ve last showered never mind eaten (a real meal) but that’s ok you’re nearly there. You’ve just one more section then… Where is it… Where’s the draft?! Where’s the form?! WHERE IS IIIIIIITTTTTT?! … Oh wait it was minimized, phew!
  1. Post Submission: That’s it, it’s sent! Aaaaand now you’ve passed out. 

The bottom line is to mind yourselves when doing these applications. Break it down into small chunks, get help from a friend, ask other people in the arts community for advice, and do not, I repeat, do not stress. Get out and away from it when you need to, let your friends know if you’re struggling and please please please, eat something that’s not Koka noodles!  

Directing Digital : Uniform

Blog, Monthly Blog

By Rena Bryson

The clothes line is down, the costumes in storage and the stage/screen empty. That’s curtains for Uniform, something I somewhere deep down didn’t think I’d ever be able to say! For several reasons, check out the video above for the full story. Such a big chapter deserves a proper closure, so for this month’s blog I thought I’d reflect on the process of creating digital theatre, what I learnt and how the experience has affected my view of digital theatre. I hope this article will be useful for other artists creating digital work.

The right story to tell digitally

One woman theatre show Uniform
Photo Credit: Catriona Bonner Photography

Overall I think the method of digital theatre worked, not as a piece of theatre but as it’s own thing. I think this was because of a few reasons. Firstly Uniform was a contemporary play, I feel this translated better to screen. For example our previous production Starseed which was more abstract would not have worked in the same way. Audiences in a physical theatre are very accepting to a change in lighting signifying a dream scape. Screen audiences are used to seeing these themes conveyed in hyper realistic manners through the magic of film. As there was nothing otherworldly or abstract within the world of Uniform I believe it suited a digital presentation better than other texts.

Lights camera action!

Once it was decided that Uniform would become a piece of digital theatre I found myself at a crossroads. Do I decide to lean into all that film can bring and begin storyboarding and have Hazel switch from theatre to film acting? (They are two very different things!) Or do I continue directing Uniform as it was intended to be, a piece of theatre on front of a live audience. I choose the traditional theatre root, but some compromises had to be made. I wanted the show to be captured all in one go in order to keep the essence of a live performance. This was not always possible due to different technical issues that naturally arise during filming. In this case it was mostly the mic being affected by the costume changes. However, we were very fortunate that our theatrical lighting did not have to be changed to suit the camera, this had been our most preempted issue. The multiple camera and editing showed the audience the full stage and close ups of Hazel. The capturing of these close up moments was a real unexpected treat and something that could not be seen by an audience in such detail during a live theatre show. When viewing it on the night I was pleased with my decision to keep Uniform as close to a traditional theatre piece as possible. Although I could not help wonder how the performance would have changed if given the energy of an audience to play off of.

Digital Audience

One woman theatre show Uniform
Photo Credit: Catriona Bonner Photography

On the production side of things the most difficult part was not interacting with the audience. We don’t know how many were in the audience or what they thought. As it’s a digital ticket there is no way of knowing how many people were actually watching the one link, I’ve heard of five people watching one ticket link together and for all I know that could be the case for each ticket bought. I’ve also gotten apologies from people who bought a ticket but something came up. So the number of tickets bought for digital show doesn’t reflect the amount of seats filled. After attending or being apart of a live show you can feel the energy in the room following the curtain. When Uniform ended I didn’t clap but I was delighted with how the show went and wondered how it had been received. I couldn’t tell and that was a bizarre feeling.

Overall it was a great experience and I always love experimenting with different approaches to art. I’m now diving straight into directing a very different piece of digital theatre ‘ It’s True I Love You All So Much’ by Jenni Nikinmaa. The upcoming play is presented as a theatrical digital experience, it was written with intention of being presented digitally and could not exist any other way. Through this process I’ve become very interested in the relationship between the performer and audience within the digital realm and how it differs from live theatre. I’m excited to explore this and many other themes within the world of the play.

I’d love to hear from Uniform audience members to gain a better understanding of the digital theatre experience from an audience POV. If you attended Uniform and have a few minutes to spare I’d really appreciate it if you answered this short survey.

One woman theatre show Uniform
Photo Credit: Catriona Bonner Photography

The Curse of the Clothes Play

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By Hazel Doolan

So, last year I wrote a play. For the reasons of the events after writing it, I shall no longer call it by name until post-production. Now I shall refer to it as ‘The Clothes Play’. Anyway, after writing ‘The Clothes Play’, we set out our rehearsal schedule, meetings, key dates, and any other things that go into production. We were all set and then these things happened; 

Rehearsal 1: The Storm 

Due to a sudden storm, we no longer had a rehearsal space. We resorted to rehearsing in a team member’s house as we could only watch the trees bend like rubber throughout. Thankfully, it didn’t last too long and we were back in the rehearsal room the following week. It was an interesting start but we thought nothing of it. 

Rehearsal 3 – 6: Ever Changing Rooms

Whatever it was, whether it be simple mistakes with the booking systems or something else, we were constantly moved to alternative rooms throughout. I made a joke that ‘This is the show of moving rooms, it’s like Alice in Wonderland!’ 

Rehearsal 3 – 6: Too Good Rehearsals

Rehearsals at this point seemed to be going too well. We were half way blocked, I was half way off book and everything was great. I didn’t want to jinx it (maybe I did!) but I couldn’t help but feel that this would be a great show. I went home happy that weekend looking forward to the next week. 

Rehearsal 7: End/Cancelled  

I think we know how the rest goes. The 12th of March 2020 will always be a date that will stay with me. After getting the news at work my first thoughts were of ‘The Clothes Play’. Rena and I talked that evening, we were confident that all will be fine and planned for online rehearsals. We didn’t even get that far in the end. 

With 2020 going down the rabbit hole, we were hopeful and planned our programme for 2021. ‘We’ll be well over it’, we thought. ‘Theatres will be open’, we said.

Why is The Clothes Play cursed?

Similar to The Scottish Play, a string of strange and unlucky events occurred throughout. Thinking back, I’ve asked myself why and how is it possible? 

The Faces of Eve

Using this trope, I narrated the lives of numerous women. I portrayed them all at different stages of their lives; Maiden, Mother, and Crone. Firstly, they say things come in threes and – Well ok, more than three things happened but three things did happen before the 12th of March. Secondly, perhaps I enraged a deity or possibly Hecate for using this trope so they facilitated these events. I’d rather not make a third point, see point one. 

Angry Nuns? 

‘Uni-’, I mean ‘The Clothes Play’ narrowly revolves around the women who all happen to attend this religious secondary school where nuns would’ve had a close connection. Whether they be passed/present teaching staff and or fellow residents with the borders in the convent. Maybe some nuns’ spirits didn’t like what I wrote?

For these reasons and more, I have strong thoughts that ‘The Clothes Play’ is possibly cursed. Once we’re in the theatre I won’t dare say the name, or light three candles on stage or wear blue. Wait, one of the costumes is blue. Dang. 

Join us for ‘The Clothes Play’ at the Town Hall Theatre from the comfort of your own home May 22nd at 8pm → https://tht.ie/3586/uniform

The Ultimate Uniform Drink Guide

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One of the things we miss most about a night at the theatre is mingling in the foyer with a drink before showtime. So we’ve decided to put together a list of cocktails for each character in our upcoming digital performance of Uniform. So you can enjoy the theatre experience from the comfort of your own home.


Vodka Martini

“I’ve said my prayers, I deserve this.”

Ms Evans


STEP 1
Combine vodka and dry vermouth in a cocktail mixing glass. Fill with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass.

STEP 2
Garnish with three olives on a toothpick.


Long Island Iced Tea

“Go big or go home!”

Sadie

STEP 1
Pour the vodka, gin, tequila, rum and triple sec into a large (1.5l) jug, and add lime juice to taste. Half fill the jug with ice, then stir until the outside feels cold.

STEP 2
Add the cola then stir to combine. Drop in the lime wedges.

STEP 3
Fill 4 tall glasses with more ice cubes and pour in the iced tea.


Ginger Mule

“I need to watch my calorie intake high!”

Meabh

INGREDIENTS
30mL Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin
15mL fresh lime juice
2 dashes bitters (optional)
Ginger beer (or ale)


STEP 1
Add ingredients to a tall glass

STEP 2
Top with ginger

STEP 3
Garnish with lime wedge and mint sprig


Cosmopolitan

“I feel like Carrie Bradshaw!”

Geraldine

INGREDIGENTS
45ml lemon vodka
15ml triple sec
30ml cranberry juice
10ml lime juice
Ice
orange zest, or a lime wedge on the rim of the glass.

STEP 1
Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

STEP 2
To make the garnish: hold a 3cm round piece of orange zest about 10cm above your cosmo and very carefully wave it over a lit match or lighter flame. Bend the outer edge of the zest in towards the flame so that the orange oils are released, then drop the zest into your drink.


Screwdriver

“Cheap and easy.”

Kate

STEP 1 (& Only)
Put a handful of ice cubes into a tall glass and pour over the vodka, followed by orange juice.


Strawberry Daiquiri

“This is one of my five a day, right?”

Heather

STEP 1
Blend the strawberries then push the resulting puree through a sieve to remove some of the seeds. Tip the sieved puree into the blender again and add the ice, rum and lime juice. Blend again and divide the mixture between 2 Martini glasses.

STEP 2
Thread the lime slices and strawberry halves onto the cocktail sticks and place onto the edge of the glass, serve immediately.


Sex on the Beach

“Maybe I’ll get lucky?”

Ciara

STEP 1
Fill two tall glasses with ice cubes. Pour the vodka, peach schnapps and fruit juices into a large jug and stir.

STEP 2
Divide the mixture between the two glasses and stir gently to combine. Garnish with the cocktail cherries and orange slices.


Manhattan

“It’s the successful people drink.”

Eve

INGREDIENTS
50ml bourbon or rye whiskey
25ml rosso vermouth
5ml syrup from a jar of maraschino cherries
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Ice
maraschino cherry
a twist of pared lemon

STEP 1
Stir the ingredients with ice in a mixing glass, then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish and serve.


A Cuppa Tea

 “I don’t drink.”

Amber

STEP 1
Sure ya know yourself!


Theatre at Home

Whatever your drinking we hope you will join us for the digital production of Uniform streamed from the Town Hall Theatre at 8pm on May 22nd.

Book your tickets here – https://tht.ie/3586/uniform