Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art
Late last week we said goodbye to our latest cohort of Advanced Diploma of Performance students. After we discussed highlights from the course, shared reflections on good times, and reminded ourselves of things learned, we got the students to do special task.
We asked the students to imagine they were writing a letter to someone who was just starting out on the journey they had just completed.
What advice would they give?
What did a new student need to know?
What did you wish you'd known, when you were starting out?
Here are some extracts from the wisdom gleaned from two years studying acting full-time.
"The beginning of anything is scary and uncertain. It'll be terrifying and exciting, a paradox of emotions. These feelings will never go away, but it helps that the people around you are feeling the same. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. There'll be struggles and memories made. The advice I can share is this: Don't let fear stop you. Be in the moment of NOW and be kind to yourself, you're doing the best you can, and if today didn't go to plan, tomorrow is a new day to try again. Everything works out for the best, just trust the process.
p.s. Success is not straight line. It is messy. But it will slowly go up. And everyone's different."
"You're not going to like everything. And that's OK. You don't have to. I still think 'Waiting For Godot' really isn't that great. Do a voice warm-up every morning. Do it in the car on the way here. Exercise outside of school. Read outside of school - plays, theory books, criticism of shows. Work out what works and what doesn't... Look after your mental health. This is a stressful career choice, make it easy for yourself... You will get to be Kings, Queens, Heroes, Villains. You don't get that in an office. There is no better feeling than killing a show."
"You may think you know a lot about acting - and who knows, you might. But it's not just the acting things (techniques, etc.) that you have so much more to learn about. It's the ensemble, the support, the love and the comfort that you'll find that'll make this whole crazy world of acting seem so much less daunting and terrifying. You'll be given opportunities you couldn't dream of and the best thing is that you get to share it with some of the best people you've ever met - teachers included! Please do this for yourself... I know how absolutely amazing it is... SO DO IT!"
"Some advice I would like to give you would be to run at full speed. Take this new chapter by the horns and take control. Yes, there will be times where you will have doubts or concerns (this is totally normal) but don't let that affect your experience and your time here... Take every opportunity to learn as much as you can, because time goes so fast, especially when you're having fun. Don't ever hold back. You may have times where you have to do something that feels stupid and uncomfortable, but just trust, and do it! ... Work hard, don't give up."
It seems the course was challenging personally for many, with valuable life lessons learned!