Danièle Sanderson is our Head of Undergraduate Studies (Acting) and the Course Director for BA (Hons) Acting. Alongside her busy teaching schedule, she is an Associate Director for Strictly Arts, a successful graduate-founded arts company, as well as directing many of our in-house productions.
Danièle tells us a bit about Acting at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, her career and what she enjoys most about her job...
BA (Hons) Acting Course Director
I trained as an actor many moons ago at the Drama Centre, and worked as a freelance performer and movement director before eventually moving entirely into the field of directing. After completing a Master’s degree in Theatre Directing at Middlesex University, I began teaching and directing at Birmingham School of Acting (now Royal Birmingham Conservatoire) where I am the Head of Undergraduate Studies for Acting as well as Course Director for the BA (Hons) Acting.
I've directed a wide range of material including Picnic, The Importance of Being Earnest, Popcorn, In Extremis, Welcome to Thebes, Dr Faustus, The House of Bernada Alba, Dangerous Liaisons, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Look Back in Anger, The Taming of the Shrew, Billy Liar, Gone to Earth, The Threepenny Opera, Ring Around the Moon, Pains of Youth, Epson Downs, The Trojan Wars and tableLaid.
The best part of my job is working with the students. Watching them develop and guiding them though their studies is by far the most rewarding aspect of being a tutor at drama school – and it requires a lot of due care and attention. At RBC what we offer is bespoke training; each student is an individual with different skills, strengths and weakness, so we look to create individual Learning objectives that will raise the standards of all students. The course is demanding and intense, as all students are expected to engage with their studies at the highest level. It's a professional training, therefore a professional attitude and application are not only expected but required if students are to achieve their aims of being industry-ready when they leave. Knowing that, understanding that, and being prepared for and excited by it is the best position to start your training, otherwise it can be a bit of a shock!
RBC fosters a friendly but professional working environment where students form strong relationships that can support you through the training and beyond. Many relationships continue into the industry, with graduate companies, writers and filmmakers all working and supporting each other out in the industry. It's a strength of our school and the course that we form such strong bonds – the students refer to themselves as family. I was invited to become an Associate Director for one graduate company, Strictly Arts Theatre Company, which was founded by graduate and now Honorary Member of RBC, Corey Campbell. I have worked as dramaturge on their new work Green Leaves Fall at the Coventry Belgrade Theatre and directed the successful tour of Freeman and full length run at the Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe 2018. The show won the Charlie Harthill Bursary, garnered 5* reviews in the Guardian and was shortlisted for an Off West End Theatre Award for best ensemble and best director.
We have graduates working in all areas of the industry, West End, Regional Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, The National Theatre, national and international tours, TV and film. Students have gone on to set up theatre and film companies, produce and write for stage and screen. We also have many students who go on to further study, specialising in classics, or acting for screen, community theatre, teaching etc. Our BA (Hons) Acting course will provide a strong and diverse foundation on which to build a career that complements your enthusiasms when you graduate.