There’s a Twitter discussion happening right now hashtagged #artsed . The hashtag acts as a search key for tweets that have anything to do with arts education, but this particular thread of the discussion is focussing on the issue of professional training for artists – more particularly theatre artists, and especially actors. The originating posts are from the US but, such is the nature of Twitter, anyone from anywhere can jump in and contribute – it’s a democratic open house in the Twitter stream. The current thread is tackling a matter dear to my heart and to those others who are participating.
However, there’s only so much you can say in Twitter’s 140 character delimited conversation bites and, inevitably, you long for another venue to continue the conversation at more length. I’ve turned here to my own scratch pad/blog, and perhaps others will join in the conversation. Continue reading “Arts Education – what should we teach and how?”
I trawled back through the posts to one I wrote at this time last year. This is what I said then:
… Another class of actors enters the industry at their showcase performance and end of three years of intensive training. Their lovely talent shone through despite the grunginess of the venue. As always, I felt as though a bunch of fledglings was leaving the nest, and needed protection. No, let them go and hopefully fly. Along with many other actor-trainers, I hate showcases. They are artificial exercises designed to market a human product; they always make me feel incredibly sad and proud in equal measure.
I wanted it to go so well for them all, dressed up, hopefully clutching their business cards, learning how to pick their way through the minefield of industry schmoozing that’s required to get agents, casting calls, auditions, jobs. It’s a tough business. Many will walk away finding it too hard, too compromising, too … .
Break a leg and never give up!
Last night’s venue, the fabulous Brisbane Powerhouse on the river was far from grungy, and the reception (hosted by the Vice-Chancellor Prof Bill Lovegrove) and given to guests, alumni, staff and graduating students of University of Southern Queensland‘s School of Creative Arts was worthy of most opening night bashes in town. In a step up from former Theatre showcases, the newly-styled ‘Trade Show’ was launched bringing together a new kind of showcase, one to introduce the work of the School, located in the Faculty of Arts on the Toowoomba and Springfield campuses. And so for the first time at a showcase, music, art, media and theatre were all on display. Good luck to them.
Get along if you can tonight and see for yourself, the final day. That beautiful talent is now about to enter the next phase of its development, outside the protected walls of the training institution. Now they simply need to ‘just do it.’
PS. Why do howler-monkey members of the audience insist on drawing attention to themselves during a show. Tsk, tsk chaps. Theatre Etiquette 101.