‘Authenticity’ Acting Tips From Michelle Danner

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If you’re looking to pursue a career in acting, then you might be interested in finding the best drama classes Manchester has to offer to hone your craft. Just putting yourself in the thick of it with passionate peers and teachers can help you pick up a few new acting tricks.

When it comes to acting classes, Michelle Danner knows her stuff. Her acting classes are considered some of the best in Los Angeles, and UK website The Stage spoke to her to get her best advice for presenting yourself with ‘authenticity’ in an audition.

Her first tip is to try as best you can to remove any pressure you feel surrounding the audition.  Of course, the ultimate goal is to get the job at the end, but if you don’t, it’s not a complete waste of time. You might just not be right for it, but it can be chalked up to experience and you may be remembered for other roles and jobs. Try to make a connection with each and every person you come into contact with throughout the audition process.

To help yourself feel as relaxed and engaged as possible, concentrate on your breathing by taking calm regular breaths. Don’t try too hard or feel like you have to give off a really energetic vibe in your audition. Just be yourself and feel confident to completely embrace whatever energy and feeling you have at that time. If you can find something that really does excite and motivate you about the reading and channel that, this will seem most authentic.

Let your emotions come out by using your own life experiences and memories, putting these into the performance. You might have to dig up feeling you a difficult time, but that is what genuine acting is all about. Allow your emotion to surface and trust in yourself to put across an authentic performance.

Jake Gyllenhaal Takes On Challenging Role As Bomb Survivor

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Hollywood actor Jake Gyllenhaal has opened up about why the character he plays in upcoming film Stronger was one his most challenging roles yet.

Known for his performances in Donnie Darko and Brokeback Mountain, the actor will be gracing the silver screen again over the coming weeks in true life story Stronger, based on the memoir of Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman.

Mr Bauman had been cheering in the crowds when the bomb exploded in 2013, causing him to lose both of his legs. The movie adaptation of Mr Bauman’s memoir follows his journey to recovery – both physically and mentally.

The actor, who is five years older than Mr Bauman, told the Metro that he found the role particularly challenging.

“I am playing a guy who survived and thrived, and some part of acting is wish fulfilment, in that you believe you are like the characters you are playing. But I realised I didn’t think I’d have been able to do what Jeff did,” he said.

The breakthrough moment came when the actor understood that his self-doubt was just the way in which he could identify with the bombing victim.

“It was exactly how Jeff felt. He doubted himself and his own masculinity,” he added.

The actor worked to coax Mr Bauman’s feelings out and understand how he has come to terms with the experience of losing limbs and dealing with what happened in 2013. Mr Gyllenhaal’s acting skills have paid off, as his depiction has been well received by critics.

The film is released in the UK on Friday December 8th. For acting classes in Manchester, contact us today.

Daniel Day-Lewis Talks About Retirement From Acting

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Daniel Day-Lewis is arguably one of the most influential and inspiring actors of his time. He’s well known for the incredible lengths he goes to in order to get into character for each of his roles, and the memorable performances that ensue.

Given that he’s won three of the five Oscars he’s been nominated for in his time, you can’t deny his talent. He may even have inspired people to sign up to drama classes in Liverpool. So it was a great surprise to many when he announced his retirement from the profession in June this year, stating that Phantom Thread would be his final movie.

In an exclusive interview with W Magazine, he said that he didn’t know he was going to give up acting when he started working on the movie with Paul Thomas Anderson, the writer and director.

He said that the two of them “laughed a lot” before they made the movie. “But then we stopped laughing because we were both overwhelmed by a sense of sadness. That took us by surprise,” Day-Lewis revealed.

He also said that he has a “great sadness” about leaving acting behind, but added that this is “the right way to feel” given that he’s been interested in acting since he was 12. “Back then, everything other than the theatre – that box of light – was cast in shadow,” he explained.

Now though, he feels differently and wants to discover the world in a new way.

There’s no doubt that he’ll be missed on the big screen. Earlier this month, a poll conducted by Gold Derby named Day-Lewis as the top Best Actor Oscar Winner of the 2010s, for Lincoln.

How To Cope With Stage Fright

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It doesn’t matter if you’re Dame Judi Dench or an extra just making up numbers in a smaller production – stage fright is very real and can affect anyone from the most to the least experienced of actors.

Taking acting courses for adults will help you combat your nerves but here are a few top tips to get you going the next time you find yourself treading the boards.

Centre your thoughts

Try not to think about what might go wrong – you’ll only send yourself into a panic and then it’s more likely that what you don’t want to happen actually will. Instead, think calming happy thoughts, take deep soothing breaths and perhaps try relaxation exercises like yoga, meditation and mindfulness.

Be prepared

If you don’t rehearse or know your lines, then it’s no surprise you might be feeling a bit anxious about opening night. Rehearse as much as you can and make sure you know your lines backwards so you know that if something does go awry it won’t be down to you.

Avoid caffeine and sugar

You don’t want a bad case of the jitters just before you go on stage as you’ll probably be feeling nervous anyway. Steer clear of coffee and sugary food and drink to help keep as calm as possible.


Before you go on stage, do a bit of limbering up to keep your muscles nice and loose. You’ll feel instantly more relaxed and this will translate once you’re on stage.

Go with it

Don’t try and fight against the nerves – it’ll only make them worse. Instead, acknowledge how you’re feeling and it’ll soon pass.

4 Christmas Theatre Shows To Put In Your Diary

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When it comes to getting festive and celebrating all things Christmas, there’s not much better than a trip to the theatre to see an incredible show with friends and family (apart from eating all that yummy turkey and Christmas pudding on December 25th, of course!)… so with that in mind, here are just a few of the many Christmas theatre shows taking place this year. Enjoy!

Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella

Sadler’s Wells

This wartime interpretation of the classic fairy tale is a must-see, not least for the incredible costume and sets designed by Lez Brotherston (who won an Olivier Award for his trouble). It’s on from December 10th to January 18th, so there’s plenty of time to see it.

The Nutcracker

Royal Opera House

This Royal Ballet production of The Nutcracker is the perfect way to mark the start of the festive season and it’s something the entire family will enjoy – no matter how many times you go to see it. A brilliant Christmas tradition to start!

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

West Yorkshire Playhouse

We love this idea as a Christmas production! The classic novel is surely one of everyone’s favourite books to read and with set designs by Rae Smith of War Horse fame, it’s definitely one not to be missed this year.

Peter Pan – Christmas In Neverland

Arena Birmingham

This new arena production is festive, funny and perfect for all the family. Apparently, there’s a team of BMX stunt riders, aerial mermaids, a life-size Jolly Roger galleon, trapeze artists, custard pie slapstick specialists… it sounds amazing to us!

Want to book acting courses for adults? Get in touch with us today.

New Generation Of Actors ‘Not Learning Lines’!

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If you’re taking acting classes in Manchester or elsewhere, you’d better make sure you learn your lines – or you might end up incurring the wrath of Bafta-winning actor Bill Nighy!

Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the 67-year-old actor explained that it’s now become something of a trend for film and theatre thespians alike to refuse to learn their lines on purpose because they think – mistakenly – that it’ll improve their performance on the day.

Bill was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying: “If you’re doing anything, whether it’s a play or a film, learn every single word that you have to say backwards forwards and sideways before you go into a rehearsal room and before you go on a film set.

“That might sound like an obvious thing, but it’s not currently: there is a fashion for not knowing your lines. It’s been invented by people who don’t want to do their homework, even as a creative choice.”

Learning lines can be difficult and it can be a chore, but it’s an absolutely vital skill if you’re going to make it as an actor. Read through them to yourself a few times but then start reading them aloud as this will really help them stick.

Reading them with a friend can also be helpful (and a lot of fun), since they’ll be able to correct mistakes, give you cues and help you with any tricky parts. Moving about while you read them out loud can also be beneficial as a memory aid – try to feel the emotions of the part you’re playing so you can gain a greater understanding of the meaning of the words.

Theatre & Virtual Reality: Are You Ready?

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If you’ve been enjoying acting classes in Leeds with a view to one day being involved with the stage, whether it’s in a lead role or perhaps behind the scenes as a director perhaps, you might want to think about how you can upskill with regards to virtual reality (VR) as well.

There’s a growing trend for the use of technology in theatre so even if you don’t end up using your new skills, having an idea of how the industry is changing and becoming more innovative in this regard could certainly prove to be beneficial.

A new immersive lab has just opened up in Brighton, for example, that will allow theatre companies to experiment with VR. It’s being run by Digital Catapult, which has plans in place to open up a network of labs around the UK that will be available to businesses of all sizes.

“The UK has a rich heritage in sectors where immersive technologies are likely to have the largest and most immediate impact: the creative industries, manufacturing and health. So, establishing immersive labs in key regions across the country like this one in Brighton will further benefit the development of the industry,” head of immersive at Digital Catapult Aurelian Simon was quoted by The Stage as saying.

As an example of VR in action in theatre, take a look at this article also on The Stage website detailing how theatre-goers used VR headsets as part of a companion piece to an adaptation of Paul Auster’s City of Glass.

Apparently, the headsets were used to help people establish a deeper connection with the characters in the play and encourage them to really be intrigued by the play itself.

4 Benefits Of Acting Classes In Liverpool

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There are lots of different reasons that people decide to sign themselves up for acting classes in Liverpool and elsewhere – and it’s not always because they’re keen to see their name in lights as they tread the boards each night. Here are just a couple of benefits – aside from stardom – that might encourage you to take a few acting lessons yourself.

Boost your communication skills

You’ll become a lot more confident in your communication skills if you have a few lessons with an experienced acting coach. They can teach you how best to enunciate your words, how to add meaning to what you’re saying through new tones of voice and lots more. You may not recognise yourself after a couple of classes!

Improve your self-confidence

It can take quite a lot of strength to get up in front of people and start speaking all by yourself. Public speaking is something a lot of people do struggle with but acting classes can really help you become more confident in yourself. This will cross over to the rest of your life and will certainly help yield positive results in other areas.

Improve your poise and posture

Actors become incredibly self-aware after a while and you’ll soon start to notice your posture and areas that need improvement. Acting isn’t just standing there and reciting lines – it’s also about body movement and expression in other ways.

Thinking on your feet

You’re sure to do lots of improvisation in your acting classes and this can help you think more creatively and in a more flexible way… skills you could certainly use elsewhere in your life as well.


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Leeds is the commercial capital of Yorkshire and has been transformed almost beyond recognition over the decades. The city is one of the UK’s most exciting cultural hubs and is home to a variety of world-class theatre and concert venues, eateries, museums and clubs. Both the BBC and ITV have sizeable bases in the city, and it is the birthplace of leading cultural figures including Julian Barratt, Malcolm McDowell, Angela Griffin, Brian Mosley, Peter O’Toole, John Simm, Ernie Wise, Gabby Logan, Gaynor Faye and Mel B.

The city is home to The Theatre, The Grand Theatre and the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Its most well-known concert venues include the First Direct Arena, O2 Academy, the University of Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University, the Belgrave Music Hall and the City Varieties Music Hall. The intimate Brudenell Social Club, located in the bohemian, student-friendly area of Hyde Park just a mile or so out of the city centre, is one of the most-loved cult venues in the UK.

The long-running soap Emmerdale is shot at a purpose-built set at the Harewood Estate and at ITV Yorkshire’s studios on Kirkstall Road where the likes of A Touch of Frost, Heartbeat, 3-2-1 and The Royal were created. Countdown was filmed at the studios until 2009. ActUpNorth Leeds is also based at Kirkstall Road.

If you’re seeking an educational day out in Leeds, you may well wish to head to the Royal Armouries, home to the national arms and armour collection, and the City Art Gallery, which has one of the finest collections of 20th century art outside of the capital. Arts festivals and exhibitions take place throughout the year, and the vast range of eateries means you’ll never struggle to find something that suits no matter what your tastes are, with culinary cultures from around the world being represented generously.

Kirkstall Abbey is one of the most well-known beauty sports in West Yorkshire. The 12th century Cistercian monasteries is surrounded by gorgeous parkland and been a source of inspiration for thousands of painters. It offers fascinating wildlife, stunning greenery and features an interactive visitor centre as well as the Abbey House Museum, which features Victorian streets and shops with their original fittings.

Roundhay Park is one of Europe’s biggest city parks and is located three miles out of the city. It includes epic parkland, beautiful lakes, gardens and woodlands as well as a number of cafes and playgrounds. The site is also home to Tropical World, which welcomes more than a million people through its doors each year and enables you to witness alien landscapes and breath-taking plant life.

Leeds Corn Exchange is one of the most exciting places to shop in the city and is home to a range of distinctive boutiques and cafes. The Exchange itself is an oval Grade I listed building and first opened in 1863. The Exchange is located just across the road from Kirkgate Market, which is the largest covered market in Europe and was the birthplace of Marks and Spencer. The city also plays host to other world-famous retail hubs including the White Rose Centre, Trinity Leeds and The Core. Leeds is surrounded by some of the lushest countryside Yorkshire has to offer, with its railway station and Leeds Bradford Airport enabling you to reach a range of leading national and international locations with ease.

ActUpNorth are proud to have a base in this vibrant Yorkshire city.


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Liverpool is one of the north’s most exciting and historic cities. The birthplace of The Beatles is home to two prestigious football teams and has more listed buildings than any other city outside of the M25. The city has benefitted remarkably from investment over recent years, but thankfully hasn’t been transformed beyond all recognition. Some of Liverpool’s most famous sons and daughters include not only the Fab Four, but Cilla Black, Beryl Bainbridge, Jean ‘Hilda Ogden’ Alexander, Kim Cattrall, Stephanie Davies, Gillian Kearney, the McGann brothers, Paul O’Grady, Liza Tarbuck, Craig Charles, Les Dennis, Stephen Graham, Kenneth Cope, Alexei Sayle and Leonard Rossiter.

The Merseyside city plays host to some of the most interesting galleries and museums in the UK. The Albert Dock is one of the city’s most iconic sights, with the docking complex featuring the biggest collection of Grade I-listed buildings in the country. It was also the home of This Morning until the mid-1990s. The most popular tourist destinations in the city include The Beatles Story, the reconstructed Cavern Club, where the Fab Four honed their craft, the Liverpool Cathedral, the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, the World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, the Tate Liverpool art gallery, St George’s Hall and the Merseyside Maritime Museum. The childhood homes of Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney are now owned by The National Trust and are open for public viewing.

The long-running soap Brookside was shot in West Kirby, around 12 miles outside of the city until its 2003 demise. Brookie was widely-regarded as one of the most innovative soaps in television history and was noted for its often hard-hitting and pioneering storylines. Teen soap Hollyoaks took over some of the locations previously used for Brookside, though much of the action is now shot at Lime Pictures’ studios in Childwall, despite being set in Chester. Other TV shows shot or partially shot in Liverpool include Bread, Little Boy Blue, Boys from the Blackstuff, Grange Hill, Peaky Blinders, Z Cars and The Liver Birds. The city has also featured in a range of big-budget films including the 51st State, Nowhere Boy and Shirley Valentine.

As you may expect from a city of such stature, culinary connoisseurs are catered for brilliantly in Liverpool, with cuisine from around the world being available. Some of the most highly-rated Liverpudlian eateries include The Art School, Panoramic 34, 60 Hope Street and the London Carriage Works. There are scores of high-profile music and theatre venues and clubs in the city, such as the 02 Academy, the Zanzibar Club, the Philharmonic Hall, the Epstein theatre (named after the late Beatles and Cilla manager) and the Echo Arena. Clubbers’ favourites are Mansion, Heebie Jeebies, Kingdom, Kazimier Garden, the Krazyhouse, Level and the LGBT-friendly Heaven.

Top places to shop in Liverpool include Liverpool ONE, St John’s Market and the Grand Central Hall. Ropewalks is a vibrant and bohemian area that houses a host of boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Liverpool Lime Street provide exceptional transport links. It’s no wonder so many people choose to visit and even relocate to Liverpool.

ActUpNorth are proud to have a base in this vibrant city.