Talking auditions, successes and 50 years with Drama Studio London
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As Drama Studio London celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, we spoke with Managing Director Kit Thacker about the school's successes and challenges, and what the future holds. Kit Thacker took over in 2010, after the school was originally founded by Peter Layton. Having trained as an actor and worked as a director Kit came into contact with DSL a few times throughout his career. He explains: "I started here and I really loved the place… I really liked the adult nature of it, the culture of it which was not didactic. It wasn’t saying this is your method, it was saying here’s a load of options; you as a student, you decide what works for you and create your own process and I think that’s treating people like adults. "You choose your own. I really like that. I came here as a guest director as a few times and then I was a tutor for a year." Drama Studio London maintains that it has a mature approach to training and that any actor who wants to undertake training at the school must be adult enough to do so. Like any drama school DSL has a rigorous audition procedure and the school looks for very particular attributes within their students. "A talent, no matter how raw or rough that talent is, there is a talent; a real passion a real burn, a real fire in their belly and a willingness to accept that they can be taught things," Kit explains. "Now on top of that at the audition, and I’d say this about the profession as well, a lot of students, applicants and actors as well, they don’t regard the chat as important. They regard the pieces as important, and the pieces are vital, but never underestimate what you’re giving on the chat - is the person listening, is the person challenging, is the person polite, all those things we want. "Sometimes applicants can be so focused on their piece that they’re not quite so good on the group work. The group work is very important because in the acting profession you work with groups and you have to trust each other very quickly." Not only are the students hand-picked – the staff at DSL also have to be top of their game. As Managing Director Kit has ensured that there is a structure to the way DSL is run and that each element is taught by a specialist. He explains that sometimes "Teachers have their expertise stretched into generalisation and that’s what we’ve really fought against, so if you’ve got someone teaching you combat, that person is one of the best in the country at combat and they don’t do other things; that’s what they do. So I think specialism is really important."
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