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Nathaniel Wade: 5 tips for training without drama school

Nathaniel Wade, 21, was offered a drama school place upon leaving school in 2014, but didn’t feel ready. Instead, he has opted for an alternative route that has included training with Lyric Hammersmith Young Company, Tricycle Young Company and the National Youth Theatre. He made his professional debut in Lyric Hammersmith’s 2015 pantomime and is currently appearing in NYT Rep Season’s Pigeon English, Romeo and Juliet and DNA at Ambassadors Theatre, London. Here are his tips for training without spending three debt-incurring years at drama school…

1. See lots of theatre

See as much theatre as you possibly can. Watching is a vital part of learning, because observing other actors helps you develop your craft. I have an ushering job at Lyric Hammersmith between other commitments and it’s an excellent way of seeing a wide range of shows.

2. Access free or cheap training opportunities

Many organisations offer free sessions – Theatre Royal Haymarket’s Masterclass, for instance. I was there for every session and it’s like a fortnightly free drama school session. Check out Classical Young Company, Lyric Hammersmith and others, too. Incidentally, many of these organisations also offer free tickets. I haven’t paid for a single show this year and I’ve seen a huge number.

3. Don’t be picky

No opportunity is too small. See everything and anything you’re offered as a chance to grow. You never know where something is going to lead, and when the big opportunity comes up, you can list the other things you’ve done – to your credit.

4. Surround yourself with focused people

You need people around you who are hard-working, driven, proactive and positive. And you’ll find them if you actively seek opportunities in young companies and training sessions. The people you meet and work with there will help and support you. You can’t do it on your own.

5. Enjoy what you’re doing

If you’re not having a good time, then what’s the point? Take joy in not knowing everything because you never will. Instead, learn lots of skills, because this is what will set you apart. Practise if you play a musical instrument, for example. I used to play the trumpet and am now working at it again. Above all, enjoy everything that you do.