The History of Actor Training in the British Drama School.

Robert Price

An investigation into the development and trajectory of actor training in the United Kingdom. read less
Ita O'Brien.  Developing an ethical approach to intimate content.
Ita O'Brien. Developing an ethical approach to intimate content.
In which we discuss the career of teacher and intimacy coordinator Ita O’Brien and understand why Michaela Coel chose to thank Ita for her work when she won the leading actress award at the 2021 Baftas. These are some of the intimacy on Set guidelines discussed in the podcast.Intimacy on Set GuidelinesBest practice when working with intimacy, simulated sex scenes, and nudityProducers to Identify whether a production may include scenes of intimacy and sexual content as part of the risk assessment; ensure that relevant departments are informed and necessary measures put in place:a. Put in place wardrobe - appropriate covering for genitalia  b. crew required for a closed set C. consideration of, and budget for, an Intimacy Coordinator.No initial auditions or screen tests are to include sex scenes or to involve nudity. Where, in exceptional circumstances, nudity or semi-nudity is required in a recall, the actor must be informed in advance and provided with the script. All material recorded must be protected and be destroyed once the role has been cast.a. The actor to sign a written agreement with the Casting Director that any recording of a nude or semi-nude audition will be confidential.b. The actor may be asked to audition in specific clothing (e.g. swimwear) required for a commercial but will be informed in advance.c. If an actor is nude or semi-nude in a recall, they may bring a support person to be with them throughout the shoot.d. The only other people allowed to be present in the audition room will be the Casting Director and/or Director/Producer, and the Reader.At point of contract all scenes involving nudity, intimacy, or simulated sex to be discussed with the actor and representative/agent, so that agreement is made with full disclosure.a. The standard Equity contract for screen productions allows the actor to agree, or disagree, to performing nude and to performing simulated sex and to choose the type of nudity the actor is willing to do (e.g. buttocks only, or full frontal).b. Actors sometimes accept a role in which their character will be semi-nude, only to find later that additional scenes have been written into the script which include full frontal nudity and simulated sex. Actors should not sign a contract for full frontal nudity and simulated sex if only prepared to go semi-nude.Directors to plainly describe and discuss with the relevant actors all scenes involving intimacy, simulated sex, and nudity at the appropriate times in the creative process:a. Before signing the contractb. Throughout the rehearsal processc. And into performanceAgreement and consent by the actor, and actors’ representative, to be given each and every time when working with intimacy, simulated sex scenes, and nudity.Establish boundaries around areas of concern, including an agreed strategy to halt the action where necessary, in rehearsals and filming on set,  such as ‘time out’.When sculpting intimacy or a simulated sex scene, for the actor and director, or the actor and director in conjunction with an Intimacy Coordinator, to follow the Intimacy On Set Guidelines as standard practice,     a. To always have a third party present, keeping the work professional, not private    b. Identify the blocking of the scene    c. Agree areas of physical touch    d. Sculpt the physical actions using plain words    e. Separately identify the emotional content of the scene    f. Integrate the physical actions and emotional content, creating a seamless intimate scene Support the show
John Beschizza and Annie Tyson discuss Doreen Cannon.
John Beschizza and Annie Tyson discuss Doreen Cannon.
In which we talk about Doreen Cannon. One of the most important figures in the history of British Actor training. With very special guests Annie Tyson and John Bechizza. John BeschizzaJohn is the Lead Acting Tutor at Rada and teaches Acting Technique and Scene Study on the BA (Hons). RADA. He trained at The Drama Centre under co-founders Christopher Fettes, Yat Malmgren and the legendary Acting Tutor and first Head of Acting, Doreen Cannon – three of the most innovative and rigorous theatre practitioners and teachers of the 20th century. The challenges of training at the Drama Centre were immense; the rewards were life-changing. It was here that some of the greatest discoveries were made under the guidance of Doreen, who as Head of Acting at RADA in 1994 offered John the opportunity to teach Acting at RADA.The techniques he provides are simple, clear and specific and when fully engaged evoke a visceral gut, heart and head understanding of the acting process. He works for one goal: to guide the actor-trainee into transforming their raw, instinctive talent into real, dependable skill.John maintains a standard of excellence in his work, evident through the specificity and rigour of his teaching. Over 27 years, this has developed into a highly practical way of working that serves the ever-changing requirements and challenges of today’s industry.Annie TysonANNIE TYSON Annie read Drama and Theatre Arts at Birmingham University before training at Drama Centre London where Doreen Cannon was amongst her teachers. She worked as an actor in regional theatre, in London and in TV and radio. Recent acting work has included work at the Octagon Theatre Bolton in Arthur Miller’s The Last Yankee, the White Bear Theatre in An Honourable Man and the Park Theatre in Hell Yes, I’m Tough Enough.At Drama Centre London she was Course Director of the BA Honours Acting Course 2002-2010. Her public productions there included All’s Well That Ends Well, Wild Oats, Mary Stuart, A Laughing Matter, Love’s Labours Lost, Richard III, The Winter’s Tale, The Second Mrs Tanqueray, Mother Courage.  She continued as an acting tutor and director there until Spring 2018  while also working at RADA. She directed Love For Love in the Vanbrugh theatre in 2013and Strange Orchestra in 2017. She directed Macbeth February 2020. She was part of the core team for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s project Open Stages, running acting workshops for Dream 16 – A Play For the Nation. She has given masterclasses in Restoration Comedy at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama where she directed The Rivals in 2012. She has contributed to the book Approaches to Actor Training and her book for the Crowood Press, Successful Auditions will be published next spring. She is writing for the next series of Arden Performance Handbooks for Bloomsbury Methuen: Shakespeare and Stanislavsky. She regularly gives both classical and contemporary audition workshops for The Mono Box of which she is a Patronand is an Open Door mentor.    Support the show