Landing my professional acting job, before graduation!

My name is Seb Yates Cridland. I grew up in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire and will graduate from the BA Acting course at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in the summer of 2019. 

Seb Yates Cridland
Acting BA (Hons) student

I found a love for theatre at an early age after seeing a production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. I was, and still am, obsessed with pirates, so to see them singing and dancing on stage blew my tiny mind and I ended up joining a local youth theatre that very week. Fast forward 17 years and I have just started my first professional acting job touring around Austria with Vienna’s English Theatre’s production of The Little Prince – my first professional acting job. At the beginning of my third year at RBC, I never imagined I would be leaving my training early to pursue a professional job, but after an amazing last few months of drama school I am doing just that.

I got the job just after Christmas after being invited to audition by director Sean Aita who spotted me in my final year production of As You Like It – which I also wrote the music for alongside a composition student from the Conservatoire. I then had just one month before I started rehearsals, and a lot changed in that very short space of time. I was juggling showcase rehearsals with contract reading, learning about tax, learning my lines, learning all the music and preparing myself for the stark reality that in a few short weeks I would be stepping through the vale from student into professional. I was finally going to do what I had spent three years training for, and this terrified and excited me.

Missing the last half of third year was a prospect that scared me - what would I be missing? I was up for BBC’s Carlton Hobbs Radio Awards and had just been chosen to represent RBC at Stephen Sondheim’s Performer of the Year Awards. Not only that, but the rehearsals started right at the same time as our Birmingham and London Showcases. Would I have to give all these things up? Luckily I was able to attend all of the showcase performances in Birmingham and my director was generous enough to give me the afternoon off rehearsals to attend the London showcase where I was lucky to gain representation with agency ‘Principal Artistes’. I am also able to fly back to the UK to compete in the Sondheim Competition in March.

After two weeks of rehearsals for The Little Prince, myself and my three other cast mates hit the road in our tour bus and began our four-month adventure. My advice to future Conservatoire students is an Emma Rice quote that they’ll probably end up hearing a lot from a certain acting tutor at the school; “Hold your nerve, stay open and delight in the privilege”. You never know where the training will take you, but every pathway is unique and wonderful. I loved my time at RBC; it’s not only a cracking training, it’s a unique family of likeminded individuals that supports and uplifts each student to achieve their best in an industry we all love!

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