Student Blogs

“A Whole New Road of Opportunities” – Jacqueline Kirkham

By | Student Blogs

The last couple of weeks have been eventful. We have been very privileged to have a special guest teacher come and take one of our classes, no other than the talented director Philip Wood. It was thrilling to have someone who has spent his time directing Coronation Street and Emmerdale to take time out to teach us! Which is a testament to Peter Hunt really who organised for him to come. Philip was very charming and charismatic character and was brilliant at getting the best out of the whole class in front of the camera. He gave me a valuable tip on how to look thoughtful on camera which im not going to share, you would have to come to our class! The other thing he taught us was to be an “interesting” actor. We are carrying on from what we learned from Philip with the lovely Erin. This week we performed a script from the Street in front of the camera and our class. We will all get a chance to watch it back next week, learning the importance of subtext when to use it and when not to use it. Erins asked us to all to find a short monologues ready for next week to help us all with auditions. A few of us are starting to go for them now. I cant put into words how valuable I’ve found these lessons, Thursday night is my favourite night of the week!


The last couple of lessons have passed flown by. We’ve done more script work and have been learning sight reading techniques. Each week, the classes have varied, and recently we had a guest teacher, the lovely Erin -who I recognised as the actress from the anti smoking adverts. We have also had a visit from a big Casting Agent where we had to do mock auditions. Last week, we got to play out scripts from Waterloo Road in front of the camera and watch them back amongst the whole class. The experiance I’ve gained from class has given me the confidence to apply for auditions now. I think life is what you make it, so I might as well go for it! Watch this space…


We finished our classes on impro last week, this week we moved onto filming! We had to pair up, practice our lines quickly then go into a room one pair at a time for our wide angle shot run. Each of us had to do it. Later we got a chance to watch them all back with the whole class. Our teacher gave us his tips as we went along . It was compelling viewing!! I had to try to contain my nerves and giggles about seeing myself act on tv for the first time. There were a few laugh out load moments for our whole class as a few of us didnt do too well with the tea cup! The camera man could have been soaked a few times! We dont mind laughing at ourselves in Liverpool! – I managed to drink my make-believe tea like it had “gin in it”!. Loved it though, got my lines to learn for next week


I’ve just landed a place in Liverpools ActUpNorth. I was made up to get in! My first trial class was only last week. I found we packed in more in one lesson than we packed in on all my previous lessons which were double the price! The class was fast paste, with our interaction and attention needed at all times, I found my self absorbed and engrossed. I even had to get up and do a quickly improvised three part seen and found myself slapping a class mate! Who took it well, thank god! As part of our role play. Some parts of the two hour class wizzed by at one point our teacher had us passing clicks around the room. The games where random but entertaining and enjoyable and some how, I just knew that they were very relevant to the skill set I will require to become an accomplished actress. I came home feeling like the fun had just become and a whole new road of opportunities had just opened to me…

…Last night was my 3rd class, we built on from the things we learned about Status within a scene in role play, using actions, tone and words, body language and possitions to hold power, or under play possitions as status levels within a scene. This week we learned about acceptance and blocking, and how people can over emphasise and take it too far or assit the progression of a scene naturally. What are other classes upto in other areas?


“A Light Bulb Moment” – Jan Pearson

By | Student Blogs

Since attending ActUpNorth classes I have learned so much. All of the classes have been very useful and informative and am now finding it easier at auditions, something I know I will never feel completely comfortable with but having the extra knowledge it great. As well as that I’ve also met, worked with and had some fun times with creative people who have become friends.

The class that I think had the most impact for me and was rather like a light bulb moment, was learning about objectives. I was finding it difficult to have little facial movement and still portray the feelings and emotions of the character keeping it real and lifelike. Now when presented with a script I look for key phrases or words and then try to work out from that what the character wants. It was this class that I thought was a turning point and things started to make sense. It was then further surprising to realise that I could learn up to a couple of pages of script in a few minutes. This I believe was due to learning about objectives, choosing what action was to be taken as the character and then having the ability to portray the story naturally and true to life. Making it comprehendible in this was in my mind made it much easier to learn the lines. That was a fantastic moment as this was something that I never thought I would be able to achieve and could actually see a difference on screen too!

Jan x

ActUpNorth – Wesley Thomas

By | Student Blogs

ActUpNorth have developed not only my abilities as a young actor, but have helped me gain understanding of the industry through meeting industry professionals (casting directors, directors, etc) and learning first hand from our tutor.

The past year I have learnt about the different genres and media types and how to act appropriately for them, technical devices used within T.V and Film, all the people that work behind the scenes and each of their individual roles, studying many forms of acting from method acting, sanford meisner technique etc, and also character acting.

This course provides a strong foundation for a successfull acting career by learning/developing skills and heightening knowledge.

Having been at ActUpNorth for about a year I have just signed with a good agent and have already auditioned for a lead role in Emmerdale and have an audition this week for a new BBC Drama.
If you are serious about pursuing a career in this industry ActUpNorth classes are a must!


Wesley Thomas.

“You have no choice – you’ve got to breathe” – Victoria Delaney

By | Student Blogs

Second class of the new year begins. We gently eased back from the christmas break and were spared the camera in last week’s class, so the inevitable lens was bound to show it’s face tonight!

But, in truth, class started in a truly terrifying manner…

Peter Hunt- “Right, I want you to stand in front of the class and read aloud, no-one will escape it, you will all have to do it.” ( a wry smile crossed his face as he dished out Julie Walters biography around to a very shell shocked group of students).
I know it sounds crazy, for a bunch of actors, but, who likes reading out loud? especially when it’s material they are not familiar with? I can still remember having to do it at school and terror shook through me then.. it still does now… I was careful not to look too long at my fellow victims as they stood one by one with their tense knees and blotchy necks… I couldn’t bear to witness their suffering… and just when I thought it couldn’t get any more awkward… Peter whipped out a little Shakespeare for us to have a go at… bloody marvellous… now, those of us who had yet to read ( including me!) had the opportunity to really make a spectacular nosedive!

When it did get to my turn I opted to read outside.. worth a shot… If under pressure, crack a gag, I knew it was fruitless really!

Now I realise I am adding an element of the dramatic with this blog.. I mean, no-one got hurt.. not really.. a little injured pride maybe from one of two… but no real lasting damage.

The exercise was designed for us to watch each other and look at how breathing,posture,emotional states were affected when we were each put under pressure and asked to do something that for the majority was out of our comfort zone. This tied in with The Stanislavsky Toolkit that we began working one last week.
Breathing is a key factor and coupled with our emotional state was really the backbone of tonight’s lesson.

“You have no choice- you’ve got to breathe” it stated in the handout as we began splitting into groups and experimenting with different breathing techniques to witness the effect they had on our delivery and performance. Daft as it may sound, it is always a positive in my opinion to focus on breathing and to become aware of what a powerful tool it is. Although we only spent a little time practising the breathing techniques it was evident that we were remembering to remain aware of our breath and I have never felt quite so relaxed when working on a script, positively mellow… unless someone had slipped something in my earl grey before class, but I’m pretty sure it was down to the breathing…

So, as anticipated, two by two we were called into the ‘filming room’ (for want of a better phrase)… all relatively painless really… especially now we all had the mental states of a group about to chant at Stonehenge on the night of summer solstice… and next week.. we get to watch our performances back…

Let me quickly paint that picture for you.. we shall be gathered round and when each couple appears on screen, the actors in question, will gently slide down their chairs ( in a pointless bid to hide) whilst masking their faces with a spread-eagled hand… in the same vein as watching some horror from behind a cushion… you don’t really want to look.. but you know you have to!

Victoria Delaney (Tues Leeds Class)