Drama Workshop Experiences: RADA’s Introduction to Shakespeare

With this new chapter in my life I thought it might be a good idea to blog about some of the major steps I’m taking to get where I need to be, Drama School. There are a lot of blogs and vlogs about the drama school audition experiences but not so many about workshops and short courses so thus begins my blogging about those.

Since I work full time, I can’t go to a whole lot of workshops and short courses, and those that I do go to can’t be longer than a week ,so finding the Saturday Workshops for 16-24 year olds that RADA hold was fantastic! For only £50 you get a one day masterclass in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, what more could I ask for? So I went ahead and booked the only one I could fit into my schedule, ‘Introduction to Shakespeare’, I love Shakespeare so I was really looking forward to this one.

This was the beginning of a crazy busy weekend because I was working all day on the Friday, Friday night I was finishing my cosplay for Cardiff Comic Con on the Sunday, the workshop was on the Saturday, Comic Con was on the Sunday and then I had to be in Cardiff again on Monday for a call as a Supporting Artist… Buuuuut, let’s just focus on the workshop, that’s why you’re here of course.

So, because I was busy on the Friday I had to get to London before 10:00am Saturday Morning, I’d booked the 01:55 National Express which should have got to London at 08:15…but it got to my town two hours late. *Very unhappy Bekah*
I ended up getting to the course an hour late and spent the whole time before it worrying because y’know, it’s RADA, I can’t be late to RADA! Anyhow, the tutor was really great about it, unfortunately I’d missed the first parts where everyone gets to know each other but it didn’t take long to get into the swing of things. It was a small class, maybe fifteen or so people? so it meant that getting to know who everyone is was pretty easy as the workshop went on.

The first part (from when I got there anyway) was to learn the rhythm of Shakespeare, we needed to master the speed and the iambic pentameter of his work. This mostly involved a lot of chanting sonnets to force the rhythm which will come more naturally once it’s been established. We then went through the sonnets we were given and told to find any alliteration, oxymorons, or powerful imagery and to create a motion to go along with those things.

The atmosphere was brilliant, on a usual day group exercises or anything that involves being required to stand out would be terrifying to me…but somehow when it’s related to drama it becomes second nature to me. For someone that’s used to being so introverted and insular this was an entirely new experience for me.

The next part of the workshop had us associating a verb with each section of the sonnet, it’s such a simple idea that it seems strange to me that it wasn’t just entirely obvious to me already. This is a part of the workshop that has been immediately helpful to me now that I’m working on my monologues for auditions. I think out of everything I learned that day, this was the most practically helpful piece of information.

After a lunch break we came back and had a short exercise that involved throwing tennis balls at each other as a reflex exercise because with Shakespeare you need to think fast and work as a team in order to carry the piece.

The final part of the workshop was the most important to me in how it made me feel. We were separated into boy/girl partnerships and given a section of a play. Myself and the guy I was with were given a part of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ Act II Scene 1, which I’m ashamed to say I haven’t actually read yet (but don’t you worry, it’s next on my list). We were to go through this together working with all the knowledge and techniques we’d learned that day and then perform it to the class where we were given direction.

The reason I say that this was important to me, is because I have never been so utterly at ease and comfortable being asked to do something in front of a class, but this…I reveled in it! This workshop was a turning point for me, up until it there was a tiny little niggling in the back of my mind “What if I can’t perform in front of people? What if I don’t enjoy drama classes as much as I think I do?” but my overwhelming thought when I finished this workshop is that I need to do this. I want to learn more about drama and acting every day. I absolutely, 100%, need to be at drama school.

Anyway, that was that, I got lost in London trying to find my way back to the National Express and almost missed my bus home but I got there in the nick of time and got home in time for the rest of my busy weekend. Almost a month on I am still reveling in the experience… Two weeks after the workshop I was emailed with an invitation to attend a free RADA workshop which I leaped at the opportunity to participate in so I’ll be going to that in two weeks time, and I’ve booked another one for two weeks after that. It’ll be a significantly less busy weekend though, I’ll take this one easy and go up the night before.

All in all, I would recommend the RADA Saturday workshops to anyone aged between 16-24 and has an interest in Drama. I learned so much about drama, Shakespeare, and myself.

I hope to keep posting about workshops, auditions, and any other steps I take towards getting into drama school.

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