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PPA principal Louise Pieri: ‘Training can change the industry for the better’

Louise Pieri. Photo: Carey Sheffield Louise Pieri. Photo: Carey Sheffield
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How did you start off in performance?
I started performing as a child in Yorkshire, then moved to London at the age of 16 to attend a dance college where I went on to be a performer.

What is the best piece of advice you have for students today?
I am constantly telling students to work hard and be kind. I believe students should not have the pressure of having to impress their college to prove they are successful by getting a job in the West End. It’s important that we focus on improving confidence and building on it and allowing them to have the life journey they want.

What would you change about training in the UK?
I think training can ultimately change the industry for the better. If we as institutions don’t listen to industry needs, then nothing will change. We have the ability to make things better by the way we train the next generation.

What is the best part of your job?
Watching the students gain confidence and become incredible adults that inspire me.

And your least favourite?
The politics of it all.

Which practitioners do you admire most/who should students be looking up to?
I have admiration for a variety of practitioners for different reasons. We believe in giving each individual student, throughout their training, the tools to help work out for themselves the kinds of practitioners they can understand and who can inspire them.

What is the one skill that every successful theatre/dance professional should have?
Professionalism. Our talent is our business and the more professional we act, the more employable we are. Talent by itself will not get everyone re-employed.

Louise Pieri is principal of Performance Preparation Academy, Guildford. She was talking to John Byrne

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