Friday, July 25, 2008

Chris Wilkinson on Actor-Managers

OK, I'm way behind on the Guardian blog, but if you haven't already read Chris Wilkinson's thoughts about the dearth of actor-managers in contemporary theatre, I enthusiastically recommend you do so. Here is a few paragraphs to whet your appetite:

Yet I can't help but wonder whether this lack of performers in positions of leadership is a sign of a deeper malaise in an industry that persistently infantilises actors and forces them into subservience. There are over 30,000 people registered with Spotlight, the industry's casting bible, and this extraordinary level of competition means that actors are often conditioned to accept that work is hard to come by and all the initiative must lie with those artistic directors, theatre directors and producers who create most of our theatre.

Indeed, in my final year of training as an actor we spent huge amounts of time with our teachers discussing how best to impress the industry, which head shot to use and so on. But it was not until our last ever week that the head of our course suggested, in passing, that we might want to set up our own companies to produce our own shows. It was a great idea, but we were given absolutely no advice whatsoever on how to do this. It was as if this kind of thing did not count as "real work". And as Lyn Gardner has shown, this appears to be an attitude in many drama schools.

Yet it is by doing this that performers can wrest back some control over their careers. Just look at the work of Filter Theatre - a young company founded and run by two actors and a musician that has gone on to produce stuff at the National, the RSC and the Lyric Hammersmith. And while many people from my year at drama school languish in unemployment, there were three girls who got together and founded Jagged Fence, and are just about to produce their third show, Stars in the Morning Sky, at the Riverside Studios.

Almost everything we are discussing these days comes down to, at root, who controls the work you do as an artist. Auditioning and dependency is the price you pay for your refusal to shoulder responsibility for more than your own individual role.
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1 comment:

kutty said...

is a actor film is very nice

regards
aegan stills, songs