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Wilson McDowell is a final year Acting student at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Birmingham City University. Wilson tells us about his final and upcoming performances.
Acting - BA (Hons)
What is your final project?
We do three performances in our third year: My first was Shakespeare's Taming of The Shrew directed by Suzy Catliff and set in a reimagined 1970’s matriarchy, full of slapstick, bold music, set and costume, with larger-than-life characters vying for status and good reputation. The absolute joy I had doing this show. My second was Hobson's Choice at the Patrick Studio in the Birmingham Hippodrome. It was such an exciting challenge to play Hobson in this Northern Dramedy and to be directed by Sean Aita. It was a fantastic time.
My final performance was the Trial by Stephen Berkoff and directed by Stephen Simms and performed at the mainstage at the Crescent - it was a wild show. There was so much research to do into Franz Kafka (who originally wrote his book: The Trial) about his inner and outer life. A very fascinating but tragic man. The process felt very collaborative as we all threw ideas in, to explore this dark, 1920s, purgatorial, animalistic and also oddly playful play. Couldn't ask for a better way to end drama school.
I am also going to be performing in A Midsummer Night's Dream. I'm performing as two characters Oberon - King of the Fairies and Theseus - Duke of Athens. Both quite powerful characters. It's quite an exciting challenge. We're starting rehearsals now and we'll be performing at Lightwoods House from the 12th - 18th June and Selly Manor in Bournville on the 24th June. I think it's going to be a really lovely experience.
How has your course helped you to prepare for your final project?
You build yourself over the course - I've always viewed drama school like a bag of marbles - you take the marbles that are the most useful - you make your own set and you keep building that collection as you go. You can create your own method using techniques you find in acting classes, singing, voice, movement etc If something isn't for you that's fine you don't add it to your collection. So, by final performance you come in the room with ideas and techniques and the director then guides your performance.
What are your future aspirations?
Right now I'm trying to start my career. We do a business plan at the end of third year. We ask this question and work on it. I want to find the work that's out there or create my own work. It's daunting and intimidating but also really exciting.
Do you have any advice for prospective students?
Look at what this school offers and look at not just where your strengths are but also your weaknesses. This school offered that to me. It worked on the things that I didn't feel as secure in. Now I feel like a much more well rounded actor. Use every opportunity that comes your way, make friends and connections and have fun. If you come to RBC/BCU this is your time to enjoy and explore.
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