We spoke to some students in their final year of the BA (Hons) Acting course about their time at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. The students discussed their first ever shows compared to their final show before graduation.
Timo Teern – BA (Hons) Acting graduate 2019
My first show at RBC was The Seagull by Chekhov. My character was a doctor named Yevgeny Dorn. The most challenging thing about that production was working with psychological realism in a play where nothing really happens, but the whole inner world of the characters is full of conflicts.
My final show at RBC is The Picnic by William Inge. My character is a shopkeeper named Howard Bevans. The most challenging/exciting thing about rehearsals so far has been mastering the American accent. Mainly Kansas in origin, it's very general but with nuances of the South. I feel like I’ve gone around the globe; starting off with a Russian play and ending with an American one!
The most important lesson I think I’ve learnt over the three years has been throwing myself into everything fully, no matter the consequences. Opening up myself and dealing with whatever comes my way. I came here as a mature student with my wife and child from another country and suddenly all this can be very challenging, but I've learnt to cope, schedule and work hard towards what I love to do.
The thing I’ll miss the most is the supportive atmosphere my year has, the tremendous skill around me, and the trust I have in them working together on a project.
My final show is about people with dreams and how they validate themselves and suddenly their perfect world is cracked by an outsider. It is a beautiful ending for the course, and I believe nicely wraps up everything we've learnt.
Amelia Landon – BA (Hons) Acting graduate, 2019
Looking back on my final year, my first show of third year was The Castle in which I played Skinner. She was absolutely the hardest role I have ever attempted to play but at the same time the most fun! There were so many challenges for me in this role, but one of the biggest was tackling Howard Barker’s language. Luckily I had an incredibly supportive and talented cast alongside me and a brilliant (yet mad!) Director.
My final show at RBC was The Terror, directed by Stephen Simms. This was mainly a devised show, something which stylistically is very much out of my comfort zone. I had so much fun with another incredible cast and we loved sharing our crazy antics with an audience!
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt at RBC is to never compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone is on their own journey in this crazy business, and as much as I may want things to happen instantly, it takes time and a lot of dedication for things to happen.
Lewis Mackenzie – BA (Hons) Acting graduate, 2019
It’s been quite the journey! Starting first year in Andrew Kaufman’s The Tiny Wife as The Thief, finishing third year in Stephen Simms’ The Terror as Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
Remembering the excitement and challenges of first year seems like a distant dream now; experiencing living in a new city and working with complete strangers, forming bonds and relationships that I will cherish for the rest of my days.
My most challenging experience was during Howard Katz, where I played the lead role. Learning the vast amount of lines was a huge learning curve! However, thanks to the marvellous cast and Director who supported me every step of the way, the process became a pleasure.
If I had to choose one lesson to take away from my time at the Conservatoire, it would be this: it’s okay to fail, as long as you learn from your mistakes. A rehearsal room is the perfect place to fall down, because you have friends and colleagues there to guide you in the right direction, and to help you achieve your best.