Drama lessons

Shaping Ideas:Aruna Ganeshram (right) working on a script.

Shaping Ideas:Aruna Ganeshram (right) working on a script.  

Being a student of drama is not just about wearing black and learning lines. It’s an attitude — to seek, imbibe and experiment, within ourselves and with what’s around us. There are ideas and stories out there, in every breath and step of ours. We just have to look to find them. Find, capture and embrace them, and before you know, drama begins.

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama is one of the oldest drama schools in London, started in 1906. Its special strength, unique in the sector, lies in a combination of first-rate practical training and production, with a highly-ranked programme of research — research aimed at the cutting edge of new performance practice. Affiliated to the University of London, the Central School offers dedicated drama programmes in the field of advanced theatre practice, movement studies, voice studies, applied theatre, acting, actor training, scenography, creative producing, writing and performance based research.

Mixed group

Studying drama is focused on process as opposed to outcomes. We are given guidelines as opposed to instructions. We are encouraged to build and shape our ideas, given that there is no such thing as a bad idea. Professors are practitioners who continue to create and devise work across the world, thereby constantly widening the scope of learning through doing. Studying with collaborators from various cultures pushes you to think afresh, and do what’s different. On the course, we currently have circus acrobats, opera singers, ballet dancers, lighting designers, art critics, playwrights, directors, actors, stand-up comedians and marketing professionals as students. This environment opens up possibilities and helps us push boundaries. In doing so, new work emerges.

Life in London

Studying in London is a great opportunity to watch a variety of drama, from classics to West End musicals to performance art. There are shows in which we are passive spectators and plays in which we become active participants. There are classical performances that take you to another world and there are immersive fringe shows that involve you in a new reality. This plays a part in shaping our understanding about possibilities in drama. Through the course, we also have the opportunity to interact with artists making these shows. This gives us an understanding of working methodologies and development processes used by specific companies to devise and develop work. Apart from drama practitioners, we also get to interact with Puppeteers, designers and artists who collaborate to create inter-disciplinary work.

Through the year, students are encouraged to collaborate with other courses to enhance work content, style and design. The school is fully equipped in terms of drama related infrastructure.

The school offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes with both full-time and part-time possibilities.

The course begins in September-October every year, and applications open in January. The admission process happens in two stages, starting with a written application, followed by a creative audition. The school also has the option of conducting auditions over video for international students.

In this digital age, we can access information virtually by just exercising our fingertips. So what makes drama different? Drama is not information. It's an experience. Drama is not about place. It's about space and shaping it, using your body, imagination and time. It is that medium when repeated or recreated, changes. It is about you, what you believe in, what you can change and what you can create. It can transport you, move you, mould you, shake you up or show you what’s really real. That’s the power of drama. Let's live it.

The writer is Artistic Director and Creative Entrepreneur. She is currently pursuing her Master's in Advanced Theatre Practice at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, U.K.

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