Today we are talking to an up and coming theatre actor, and Summer School 2018 student who attended our London Theatre Experience for 16 to 25 Year Olds course, Aurianna McPhail, about her experience at CSM Drama Centre London.
Hi, What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Aurianna McPhail and I’m from St. Albert, Alberta, Canada.
What is your occupation?
I was working part time in the service industry, saving money, while training in a part time pre-university theatre training program in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. I’ve been working full-time since that finished at the end of May 2018, in order to come study at Central Saint Martins Drama Centre London!
What course did you study on and why did you choose it?
I attended the London Theatre Experience for 16 to 25 Year Olds. I chose this course because I aspire to be an actor in the theatre and when looking the Drama Centre London at UAL, Central Saint Martins, came up many times in my search for training overseas. I’ve always felt drawn to London, and in seeing a course was available to train for theatre, and to experience the London theatre scene, I thought I was dreaming. Education, to me, should be as hands on as possible and this course seemed to be that exactly. Coming from a smaller city, I wanted to see and experience life as an actor in London, while also getting a strong sense of Drama Centre London’s training.
What did you enjoy most about your course?
The atmosphere was a huge part in loving this course. I immediately felt alive in the space, and could tell that Drama Centre London had a very specific way of working. The signatures on the studio walls, the props and sets lingering in the corner. It’s a space that emits creativity and inspiration, allowing you to trust the space very easily. What I enjoyed most was the fact that each teacher came from a completely different background, yet each one loves the building they teach in just the same. I loved getting to work with different people from the business, and seeing the shows! 6 top rated theatre shows over the 3 weeks; we really could see the range of theatre in the city and get the true London experience.
How has this course benefited your career and personal development?
This course really has changed everything in my life. I didn’t leave much behind coming here; not having a job I wanted to stay in and not yet being in full-time school, I had nothing holding me back you could say, except an actors constant worry of “am I good enough?” I think I have left the course without that worry being as prominent. In all the training I have done, I have almost always felt limited by myself and my insecurities, but something changed here. The movement and voice heavy classes do an excellent job of grounding you as a person, in order to let your inhibitors down so you can focus on being present and in the moment. I realised that I didn’t have to work as hard to overcome myself; the way classes were structured, I quickly saw myself being more vulnerable than I had ever been. I’m excited to see where this takes me, I feel more free in my craft than ever before and I feel my career will forever benefit from this experience. I have developed tools to employ that, even in times of low inspiration, I can look back at and use to ground myself once again.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about taking a short course at Central Saint Martins?
Don’t think twice. Everything else can wait, invest in yourself and take a risk. I promise you, you will not regret taking a course at CSM. It changed me for the better.
What do you believe is integral to the work of an artist, in any discipline?
Being authentic by commitment and risk taking. We fail all the time, we’re human. That’s something my teachers here reminded me of, that we are just humans trying to share a human experience; in order to do that we have to commit to the weird and the vulnerable. For me, nothing beats hands on experience and that’s all about taking a risk and then committing to it. Our most passionate and meaningful work comes out of messy risks that may have failed many times, but it keeps us authentic and personal.
What 3 words best describe your short course experience at CSM?
Alive, personal and invaluable.