West End Records Highest Audience Figures

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It seems there has never been a better time to visit a West End show, or to tread the boards yourself, with the audience figures for London’s West End theatres showing that 2017 was the city’s best year yet.

According to figures published by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), audience numbers at West End shows topped 15 million in 2017 for the first time ever.

In addition, revenue from ticket sales also grew for the 14th year in a row, with prices rising for those who attended shows in the capital.

The Evening Standard revealed that musicals experienced an eight per cent rise in their audience numbers, while plays saw a slightly lower seven per cent climb.

One interesting figure from the SOLT survey is that the number of new shows hitting the West End fell by 18 in 2017 compared to a year earlier, The Stage reported. This indicates that shows are running for longer, the publication noted.

Hamilton and Harry Potter And The Cursed Child were cited as two of the productions that helped draw in higher audience figures in the West End.

SOLT president and West End producer Kenny Wax stated: “The box office figures are a testament to the creative strength of London theatre and cements the city’s status as the world’s theatre capital.”

Seeing a West End production could give you the inspiration to sign up for a course at a drama school in Leeds. While London may host some of the biggest and best-known shows in the UK, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a thriving theatre scene in other cities.

Stop Working For Free!

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Actors taking the best acting classes Leeds has to offer should value their craft, and the training it took to hone it.

This is why the lack of pay for many actors is so problematic, and has recently become the focus of a debate, sparked by reviewer Mark Shenton.

It started with an article on The Stage in which he pledged to stop reviewing plays that didn’t pay their actors. He argued this mainly affected fringe theatre, but that the small-scale nature of the productions was no excuse.

He was then invited onto the Today Programme where he debated low pay, alongside actors and their unions. Equity, the actor’s union said on the show: “you wouldn’t open a cafe and then tell the staff that they’ll be no money to pay them!”

This latest furore follows on from many years of campaigning to get actors at least minimum wage. Just a couple of years ago Equity helped a group of actors who were not paid for their time in rehearsals, when their play fell through.

An employment tribunal found that performers who were signed on to a profit share were entitled to the minimum wage for the hours they worked, and ordered the respondents to pay all their overdue wages.

Though working for free is not breaking any of Equity’s rules, the union makes it clear that employers are breaking both minimum wage regulations and potentially working time directives.

The union has a number of case studies showing the outcomes for low paid workers in tribunals.

David Tennant Reveals How He Pursued Acting Dream

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No one would argue that David Tennant is a highly successful British actor, having starred in Dr Who and Broadchurch, as well as appearing in some high-profile theatre productions in recent years as well.

But in a recent interview with the Big Issue, he revealed that many of his friends and family were less than encouraging when he told them of his dreams to become an actor, AOL reported.

When he was 16 and started sharing his ambitions of becoming an actor with friends and family, they told him it was a “daft idea”.

“I didn’t know any actors. And people all around me were going, quite rightly, this is a daft idea,” Tennant told the publication.

“But there was a little part of the teenage me that thought they might be wrong,” he added.

David Tennant is a testament to what you can achieve if you believe in yourself and chase those dreams. He also admitted that he’d like to go back and tell his younger self that he’s working as a successful actor now.

It could even give you the inspiration you need to start acting classes in Liverpool – you never know where it could lead you.

Actress Rachael Garnett recently wrote an article for The Stage, where she shared her thoughts on working outside of London. She urged actors to consider working away from the capital, noting that there is plenty of work in other cities and great opportunities in regional theatres.

She added that the lower cost of living outside of London is also a bonus.

London ‘Not The Only Place To Find Acting Work’

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If you’re looking for part-time acting classes in Manchester and wondering if there is much work for budding thespians outside of London, you may be interested in what actor Rachael Garnett has to say on the matter.

Writing for The Stage, she explained that she’d started her career in acting in the capital, but found that the cost of living was too high and that it was very difficult to get by and be happy when she was between roles.

As a result, she decided to move north, where the cost of living is more affordable and she doesn’t have an expensive daily commute. She added that, with a train to London taking just 2.5 hours, it’s still easy to reach the capital if you do land an audition there, but stressed there are “brilliant theatres” near where she’s living.

“A career in the arts can and should be wonderful. Remember: the arts are not exclusive to London,” Ms Garnett advised.

However, one leading figure in British theatre has warned that regional theatre needs more funding support from the government.

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Sir Richard Eyre explained that funding cuts from both the Arts Council and local authorities, coupled with rising prices, are making it more difficult for regional theatres to “take artistic risks” with both new productions and new talent.

He stressed that “government and education must and should play a part in it”, adding that it would be a “terrible tragedy” to let regional theatres go under because of the “extraordinarily rich cultural heritage” in the UK.

Royal Court Liverpool Celebrates 80th Year

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If you want the best acting classes Liverpool has to offer then you are in safe hands with us.

Liverpool’s cultural history is world famous and the Royal Court Liverpool has been a focus of that.

It originally opened in the late Victorian era, but a fire that ripped through it in the late 20s meant that the theatre was closed for a while. It wasn’t until 1938 that a new art deco theatre was reopened. This is the theatre that remains today.

Launched in 1938, this art deco theatre has been responsible for the launch of many careers. Dame Judi Dench made her professional stage debut here in 1957, in a production of Hamlet for the Old Vic.

However, the theatre is really responsible for the popularity of pantomimes in Liverpool. Its pantomimes used to travel over the rest of the UK, with performances done in the West End, of that year’s Scouse Pantomime, as it become known.

The popularity of pantomime in the city was exemplified by the magazine that was launched in the early part of the 20th century, dedicated exclusively to pantomimes in the city. The Royal Court Theatre was absolutely key to that.

One of the clearest relics of the theatre’s past as primarily a theatre for pantomime, is its extensive counterweight fly system which allows actors to ‘fly’ around the stage. Pretty crucial for any performance of Peter Pan.

The lighting system has also always been second to none and plays a crucial role in bring the dramatics on the stage to live.

Don’t Let Autism Stand In The Way Of An Acting Dream

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Autism affects one in every 100 people, according to Autism.org.uk, but those classified as on the spectrum with a love of acting should not let it stand in the way of their dreams.

Travis Smith, a 17-year-old actor from Pontypool, Forfaen, is embarking on the second series of The A Word, a BBC drama about a young man with autism which has received critical acclaim.

Smith was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome while in primary school and recalled how he would act up in class, have panic attacks and suffer from anxiety – but his love of acting was constant throughout his entire childhood.

It took the teenager some convincing to audition for the role in The A Word, but those close to him persuaded him to travel to London to try out.

When given the chance to audition, Smith’s passion and talent shone through and he was given the role opposite acting greats such as Christopher Eccleston and Morven Christie.

“Autism is everywhere and it’s important for a television show to show the public we’re not all just Rain Man. I’m terrible with maths! Acting is my thing,” the young actor said.

Acting classes in Manchester could help more young actors like Smith pursue their dream of treading the boards or landing a role on the small screen and beyond.

And there are more benefits to enrolling than just honing your craft. Acting classes can enhance your communication skills, improve your posture and even give you a boost of self confidence, while skills such as improvisation are great for learning to think on your feet.

Get Into Acting ‘For The Love Of It’

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If you love acting you should consider it as a career choice, one British star has suggested. Speaking on a return visit to his primary school in Birmingham, Duane Henry who now stars in hit TV show NCIS said that he loves his job – and would encourage others to follow their passions.

The Birmingham Mail reported on his school visit just before Christmas, when Mr Henry not only addressed a school assembly, but was also interviewed by some of the current pupils.

He was asked what advice he’d give to students who also want to pursue an acting career, to which he responded: “Do it because you love it and everything else will come naturally to you.”

“Don’t concentrate on the awards, the money… just do it for the love of it because all those things will just come with it anyway,” he added.

Mr Henry also revealed that after leaving school at 17, he spent two years studying drama at a local college before moving to London, finding an agent and looking for work.

He recently became a regular on NCIS, which he described as one of the highlights of his career so far because getting that job meant he could “breathe” and know where his next pay cheque was coming from.

Actor Chris Geere, who stars in US show You’re The Worst, recently told Mandy News that he’d never considered working in the States until he was approached by an agent about representing him on the other side of the Atlantic.

He revealed that his first foray into the acting world in the US didn’t result in him getting a part, but he returned to the UK, saved up some money and went back for another go. This time he got the role in You’re The Worst, which he’s had for five years.

If you’ve always liked the idea of working in the entertainment industry it’s never too late. Evening acting classes in Leeds can give you an accessible way of honing your skills and picking up advice.

New Actors: Don’t Restrict Yourself To One Medium

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If you’re enrolling in drama school for adults this year, you might be doing it for fun, or you could be looking for a career change.

When it comes to acting roles, there are a host of options out there, from theatre and TV to movies and musicals. But it can be hard to know which direction to go in when you’re just starting out.

In a recent interview with Mandy News, British actor Chris Geere, who’s appeared in TV shows such as Waterloo Road and You’re the Worst as well as acting in stage productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company, offered some advice to aspiring actors.

He said: “Don’t focus on any medium in particular, focus on the kind of person that you want to be when you’re on set or on stage.”

Although he started out on the stage, Chris explained that he feels putting all your energy into working in just one medium will restrict you as an actor.

He also noted that who you know is important when it comes to acting, and therefore making a good impression with everyone you work with is something you should focus on.

“I think most of your career will come from the connections that you make, the people that you meet quite early on and the impact that you can hopefully have on them,” Chris added.

Michelle Danner, who runs well-respected acting classes in LA, recently offered some advice on how to present yourself with authenticity when you go for auditions.

She recommends finding a way to make yourself feel as relaxed as possible, and to try not to put too much pressure or stress on yourself over the outcome, because you can still learn a lot even if you don’t get a part.

UK Audience Behaviour Getting Worse

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You can get the best acting classes Leeds has to offer, but you will never be able to control the behaviour of the audience.

Some are claiming it has been getting worse in recent years. The papers carried one story this Christmas about a man who punched a fellow audience member, when he asked their wife to put away their mobile phone; they had been using it throughout the first act after all. The altercation took place at A Christmas Carol, at London’s The Old Vic.

It isn’t the first time that mobile phones have proved to be the scourge of the theatre, with one man reportedly climbing on stage during Hand to God on Broadway to charge his phone in one of the prop sockets.

Luckily, they have now been banned across New York, so theatre goers wanting a quieter experience should perhaps head to Broadway.

It isn’t just modern implements that are the scourge of theatre goers. The age-old problem of sweets and other food remains problematic. One actor even reported that her theatre company had removed some food that came in packaging that was too noisy.

Theatre owner Nica Burns told The Stage: “A few of the very noisy packages have now been gracefully retired, and we’ve brought in similar ones that don’t make any noise,

“It’s a work in progress.”

It has since been reported that Imelda Staunton insisted on food sales being banned for her production who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfe at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

Panto ‘Keeping British Theatres Alive’

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The money made by theatres putting on pantomimes around Christmas is often enough to support the establishment through the rest of the year, allowing them to run less-lucrative productions.

Speaking to iNews, pantomime historian Professor Jeffrey Richards, of Lancaster University, said that these fun productions are “unequalled in keeping British theatre alive”.

When asked about their enduring appeal, he explained that the reason pantomimes have survived so long is because they are constantly evolving. “Pantomime producers never hold onto anything which doesn’t appeal,” he asserted.

Some may consider pantomimes to be a lesser form of stage production, however, one of the country’s leading panto producers Michael Harrison told the news provider that he thinks this is nonsense.

“I would say playing Widow Twankey didn’t hurt Ian McKellen,” Mr Harrison stated. In fact, many big names have starred in pantos in the UK at Christmas time, including those from the US and Australia who can make good money in a relatively short space of time.

As an actor, it’s hard not to love walking on stage to see so many children’s faces in the audience, and to watch as they’re captivated by the colourful costumes, classic tales and comedy moments as the action plays out.

This year there will be pantomimes running up and down the country, but the Guardian recently singled out a couple that look to be particularly memorable this festive season in its list of the top theatre shows this Christmas.

Jack and the Beanstalk at York’s Theatre Royal got a mention, with the newspaper noting that it’s the 39th year that Berwick Kaler has trodden the boards as a panto dame; while Dick Whittington at the London Palladium boasts an all-star cast, including Julian Clary, Nigel Havers, Elaine Paige and Gary Wilmot.

If you’re inspired by what you see on stage this Christmas, consider booking drama classes in Liverpool in the new year and see where acting could take you.

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